Super Bowl Tax Boost? Not Buying It

Peter Corbett’s front page article in today’s Arizona Republic on Super Bowl tax impact is a perfect example of how reading critically can reveal a completely different picture than the headline might suggest.

’15 Super Bowl visitors boosted tax revenue by double digits

Sorry, Peter, I’m not buying it. And you gave a really good reason right in the article:

“But some economists caution that economic impact studies for major sporting events often overestimate the local windfall because they fail to account for the lost spending of tourists displaced by sports fans attending the event.”

Not only that, but a lot of the money that is spent relative to these types of events didn’t come from out-of-state. If it’s money spent by Valley residents, there’s a high likelihood it would have been spent here anyway on something else that’s taxable.

Another important point is that while you have baselined on a year-over-year comparison, you failed to baseline for the fact that the economy is better overall than last year. Tourism-related spending has improved all over the country, not just in the Phoenix area because of one event.

Your assertion about light rail having “unlocked the potential of downtown” and thus proving the worth of light rail and of Phoenix as a venue is completely unfounded. Show me a statistic that proves any of that.

And your last statement is ludicrous:

“And the host committee sponsors and NFL donated more than $2 million to 27 nonprofit groups statewide, benefiting about 400,000 children, and planted 170 trees in the Valley as part of the Super Bowl Urban Forestry Program.”

The host committee and the NFL didn’t “donate” a penny. The taxpayers donated that money via subsidies to the NFL. All the host committee did was redistribute it under their own name to generate otherwise unwarranted goodwill for themselves.

Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council gave over a million dollars to the host committee and to Fashion Square Mall for Super Bowl-related activities.

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