So you are an American city that would give anything to get the Super Bowl?
Well, as it turns out, you may have to give everything and then some.
Before you bid, you better take a gander at the 153 pages of the "National Football League – Host City Bid Specifications and Requirements."
It is a document that if you didn’t know better you would think was a parody of a "Rolling Stones" concert contract from the 1960’s. The only thing that is missing is "No red M&M’s in the locker room candy dishes."
In 2014, the StarTribune.com exposed the NFL shakedown of American cities that would want to bid on the Super Bowl.
Here is some of what they uncovered:
- Free police escorts for team owners, and 35,000 free parking spaces. Presidential suites at no cost in high-end hotels. Free billboards across the metropolitan area.
- Guarantees to receive all revenue from the game’s ticket sales — even a requirement for NFL-preferred ATMs at the stadium.
- The NFL’s demands covered everything from free access to three "top quality" golf courses during the summer or fall before the Super Bowl, to free curbside parking at a yet-to-be designated NFL House — defined as a "high-end, exclusive drop-in hospitality facility for our most valued and influential guests to meet, unwind, network and conduct business."
- Local government is on the hook with a “Government Guarantees” section, the NFL demands that local police provide officers, at no cost, for anti-counterfeit enforcement teams focused on tickets and merchandise. Other provisions in the section ask for government resolutions requiring “high-level management” at local airports to “cooperate with those needing special services”, including those arriving on team charters and private planes. The NFL demands that government-licensing fees be waived for as many as 450 courtesy cars and buses.
- The “Government Guarantees” section, in addition, also demands that public officials create “clean zones” that cover at least a one-mile radius around the football stadium and a six-block radius from the NFL’s headquarters hotel. Creating “clean zones,” according to the NFL, typically “restricts certain activities” and “provides for the temporary suspension of new, and possibly existing, permits for such activities.”
The host city also was asked to pay all travel and expenses for an optional "familiarization trip" for 180 people to come to the Twin Cities in advance of the Super Bowl to inspect the region.
The bid specifications are divided into 16 separate sections and require a potential host city to mark yes or no after each section to indicate whether it "agrees to all conditions."
This overreach by a multi-billion dollar business enterprise on local governments, taxpayers, and fans — a vast majority of whom will never get to see a Super Bowl in person in their city — is nothing short of highway robbery.
The NFL makes Bonnie and Clyde look like amateurs.
Not only do taxpayers fund billion dollar stadiums but they also must bear the cost of the games that are played there. How insulting.
The only thing worse than the NFL’s overreach is the politician’s willingness to be shaken down. They are memorized by the spectacle and taken in by the con.
P.T. Barnum was right. There is a sucker born every minute. Cities agreeing to host a Super Bowl are proof positive of that.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2004. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now
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