Monday, June 09, 2014

Some Light Shined On Extent Of Minneapolis' Pandering At Taxpayers' Expense To Lure Super Bowl

I've said it before, and I will say it again. When it comes to negotiating with cities in this country for the opportunity to host a Super Bowl, the NFL is no better than the worst of mob bosses in their shakedowns and extortion tactics to get what they want for their billionaire team owners. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune obtained a document after the fact that reveals the "long, pricey and secret Super Bowl wish list" for the city's right to host the Super Bowl in 2018. The lengthy list of demands filled a 153-page document, and it includes demands that extend into the months leading up to the Super Bowl, including free access to "top quality" golf courses during the summer and fall before the Super Bowl is held in February, 2018. There's also free curbside parking at an NFL House, described as "a high-end, exclusive drop-in hospitality facility for our most valued and influential guests to meet, unwind, network and conduct business." Here's just a few more of the demands of the greedy billionaires, which seems to be pretty close to the greedy demands that cost Indianapolis and state taxpayers tens of millions of dollars:
  • At least 20 color pages of free space, in aggregate, in leading daily newspapers to promote the Super Bowl 
  •  Four weeks of free promotions on at least six local radio stations, including no less than 250 ads 
  • Free police escorts for team owners 
  • Teams of local police provided at no additional cost to enforce anti-counterfeit measures for tickets and NFL merchandise
  • Waiver of government license fees for at least 450 courtesy cars and buses
  • High-level management cooperation at local airports in meeting special needs for team charters and private planes
  • "Clean zones" restricting activities within a one-mile radius of the stadium and within six blocks of the NFL's headquarters hotel
  • 35,000 free parking spaces 
  • Free billboards across the Twin Cities 
  • Portable cellphone towers to ensure that team hotels have strong signals 
  • Installation of ATMs that accept NFL preferred credit and debit cards and deactivation of ATMs that ”conflict with NFL preferred payment services.” 
  • Free use of two “top quality bowling alleys” for the Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic 
  • 65 limousines — of makes no more than five years old — available for exclusive NFL use 
  • NFL approval of concession menus
  • And, of course, there's that all important tax exemption of the NFL from all state, county, city or other local taxes on income, gross receipts, franchise, payroll, sales, use, admissions or occupancy
Like Indianapolis, local leaders had ready excuses for the need to satisfy the NFL's lengthy list of demands, which was only made available to the Star-Tribune by an anonymous source. The city's council president said the incentives were necessary to win the Super Bowl bid, while Mayor Betsy Hodges pleaded ignorance to the contents of the bid or what terms the city's host committee had offered in order to win the bid. Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson criticized the bidding process for lack of transparency. 

The host committee insists that the bid documents it furnished to the NFL are private documents that it is not required to disclose to the public pursuant to state law. A representative of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority told the Star-Tribune that it doesn't have to disclose the requested documents until after the event is held or five years after the contract with the NFL is signed according to state law. How convenient. The Star-Tribune could only find one demand so far that is not being met. The airport authority rejected a request by the NFL that it be granted the exclusive right to select vendors to sell Super Bowl merchandise at local airports and the ability to place multiple kiosks at the airport.


Anonymous said...

...but does Minneapolis have a Cricket field?

I'm sure the Super Bowl fans would love a go at it along with the billionaire team-owners.

Flogger said...

What is interesting considering all the commitments various levels of Government must agree to, the process is shrouded in secrecy. So much for transparency.

One thing I noticed in the article was - Free ad space in local newspapers and air time on local radio stations to promote the game.

This requirement would have been no problem at all for The Star and other local media. The Star and our talking heads on TV and Radio have never objected to the heavy handed tactics of the Professional Sports establishment in fact they are cheerleaders for it. Perhaps this the reason we were bombarded with all those contrived and hyped "News" Reports on the Stupor Bowl.

I feel fairly certain that even if these demands would have been given to the Star or any of the other McMedia outlets here before the bid, it would not have seen the light of day.

The NFL owners must have good laugh at the sight of government officialdom and the committees crawling across the rug and boot licking begging for the chance to hold the Super Bowl.

Pete Boggs said...

Notice the laundry list of exemptions from fees & taxes to which real businesses are subject.

These aren't legitimate businesses or "professional sports," they're fascist subsidies.