With an estimated economic impact of $400 million in the Valley, Super Bowl XLII may seem to placate those who were against spending taxpayer money toward the $455 million cost of University of Phoenix Stadium.
Not so, says one expert in sports venues funded by the public.
Cleveland State University professor Mark S. Rosentraub believes such economic estimates are vastly overrated.
"You’re just crowding out the people who would’ve come anyway,” said Rosentraub, who added that raising taxes to build a stadium only makes financial sense if the economic return exceeds the cost.
“And that can’t happen,” said Rosentraub, dean of the school’s public affairs programs.
In 2000, voters approved a tax on rental cars and hotel rooms to provide funding for Universtiy of Phoenix Stadium and improve facilities for baseball’s Cactus League.
So, what are county voters getting for their money?
“It’s kind of like Halley’s Comet – just enjoy it,” Rosentraub said.
The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels had a flyover scheduled and fly over they did.
But only tailgaters saw them.
Because of the gloomy skies and occasional drops of rain, officials decided that University of Phoenix’s retractable roof should be closed.
That meant when American Idol winner and Glendale resident Jordin Sparks sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” no one inside the venue saw or heard the formation of F/A-18 Hornets.
Score one for Sun Devil Stadium – nothing blocking the sky there.
A quick check of prices seen while walking around the stadium’s concourse:
Hamburgers and cheeseburgers: $8
Draft beer in a souvenir cup: $10
Souvenir program: $20
For those with a wad of cash burning a hole in their pockets, on sale at a memorabilia table was an autographed helmet retailing for $2,500.
In the minutes before kickoff, the scalpers’ market for tickets turned bearish.
On Thursday, a posting on Craigstlist offered four seats in the lower level of the end zone for $3,000.
About three hours before kickoff, another offer for two end zone seats, two rows from the field, went up: $1,600 per.
Either Patriots fans aren’t about to miss the opportunity to witness history, or Big Blue boosters are less than confident about their team’s chances of pulling off an upset for the ages.
The evidence? Wearers of New England jerseys outnumber their Giants counterparts by a ratio of at least 4 to 1.
IT'S A GUY THING
Hopefully the Super Bowl’s female ticket holders went light on the liquids. It appears some of the University of Phoenix Stadium women's bathrooms have been converted to men’s lavatories in anticipation of a mostly male audience. By one count, the ratio appeared to be 3-to-1 in favor of men's bathrooms. Some of the men’s bathrooms looked somewhat feminine -- a long row of stalls an no urinals.
At kickoff, the weather in Glendale was 59 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.
In New York’s Central Park, it was 48 degrees and fair.
And near Foxborough, Mass., it was 35 degrees and partly cloudy.
EARLY TRAFFIC SNARLS
No good planning goes unpunished.
People heading to the stadium early to beat the crowd got a nasty surprise Sunday morning. A crash on Loop 101 at Bethany Home Road blocked two northbound lanes, creating a traffic jam more than a mile long.
Details of the collision were not immediately known.