At first glance, the Seattle Seahawks would appear to be the biggest loser of yesterday’s Super Bowl, wouldn’t they? After all, the Seahawks lost the game in the final minute by inexplicably attempting a risky one yard touchdown pass instead of simply running the ball straight over the goal line.
According to the mayor of Glendale, Arizona, though, the biggest loser wasn’t the Seahawks franchise. Instead, it was the city of Glendale itself, for bearing the fiscal burden of hosting the game.
Although the game was billed as the Phoenix Super Bowl, with most of the pre-game festivities split between Phoenix and Scottsdale, the football stadium itself is located in the suburb of Glendale. Last week, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said that “I totally believe we will lose money” on the game.
You may be dubious about Weiers’ assertion that Glendale’s public safety costs of hosting the game will exceed its financial and economic benefits. It is noteworthy, though, that the Glendale mayor isn’t the first city executive to voice this complaint.
Just last year, when the New York City Super Bowl was played in the nearby suburb of East Rutherford, New Jersey, local Mayor James Cassella complained that “in East Rutherford I expect to get disrespected, but the state of New Jersey is being left out of the (pre-game events) mix.”
Thus, in each of the past two years, the Super Bowl has been played in a suburb of a major metropolis. And each year, the mayor of the suburb has expressed dissatisfaction with the prospect of bearing the costs of public safety while watching the nearby metropolis reap the benefits of public exposure.
Is there any chance that such municipalities may eventually lose interest in hosting the big game? At the moment, no one is yet suggesting such an outcome.
Nevertheless, after many years of hearing similar concerns voiced by city executives playing host to the Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee is now struggling with a startling lack of interest in hosting future games. And can you guess what situation will confront the National Football League at next year’s Super Bowl?
Believe it or not, it’s facing a possible third straight year of suburban angst. Although the 2016 Super Bowl 50 Host Committee is referring to the game location as the “San Francisco Bay Area,” its stadium isn’t located in the metropolis itself. Instead, it is located in the suburban city of Santa Clara.
So this is a concern that won’t fade away soon. But how significant is it?
On the one hand, you might believe that such complaints by suburban mayors aren’t worthy of the NFL’s time and concern. After all, by having agreed to permit the construction of the fields in their cities, the citizens of these suburbs implicitly committed to finance the public safety costs of hosting events at those locations.
Nevertheless, at a time when the NFL is suffering through one embarrassment after another, the League can’t possibly enjoy listening to the complaints of city executives who are unhappy about being treated unfairly. Perhaps, in the future, the NFL might choose to be more proactive in addressing their concerns.