The Miami Dolphins are seeking tax break subsidies to help pay for a $400 million stadium renovation.
Project supporters hope that such a massive investment will lead to more Super Bowls in the future. South Florida is competing with San Francisco to host the 50th anniversary Super Bowl in 2016. The NFL will announce the winner in May.
Stadium supporters told a state Senate committee March 6 that the public will reap benefits from the big bucks that come from a Super Bowl.
“A single Super Bowl generates over $300 million in economic benefits to South Florida and its businesses,” said Sen. Oscar Braynon, a Democrat who represents Miami Gardens, where the Sun Life stadium is located.
Longtime Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book upped the ante:
“Super Bowl L by everybody’s estimation is a $500 million economic impact to the state of Florida,” Book said.
That’s a pretty strong claim. Is there widespread agreement on that number?
The Dolphins are seeking about $200 million in public financing for about half the cost of a major stadium renovation. It would include state sales tax rebates and an increase in the Miami mainland hotel bed tax from 6 to 7 percent. County voters would have to approve the hotel bed tax increase.
A recent poll showed 73 percent of county voters are against the financing plan.
Book points to host committee study
Book pointed us to a study — commissioned by the Super Bowl Host Committee — about the 2007 Super Bowl in South Florida done by Sports Management Research Institute, whose clients include the NFL and other major sports entities. Total economic impact to South Florida: $463 million.
“I cannot share all of the information that we have as to the NFL’s plans for Super Bowl L,” Book wrote in an email to PolitiFact Florida. “You must just accept that everybody in the country that wanted the opportunity to bid for Super Bowl L believes it’s a $500 million-plus economic impact to host that game.”
The 2007 Super Bowl drew about 75,000 visitors to watch the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears 29-17. The study Book cited examined spending on hotels, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, retail and other services during the game day and associated events.
Researchers collected data from about 3,000 visitors at airports and a half-dozen hotels — including some lavish spots such as The Breakers in Palm Beach County. Researchers also examined other economic impact studies, hotel occupancy, surveyed businesses and other information.
The study concluded that direct economic impact from spending was about $298 million. Then it added in the spending to prepare for the Super Bowl and the induced spending from new money flowing through the area, and the total came to $463 million. The biggest winner was Miami-Dade County, followed by Broward, and then neighboring Palm Beach and Monroe counties.
The study did not subtract out the normal tourist spending that would have happened during the period without a Super Bowl.
While South Florida is already a tourist mecca in the winter even without a Super Bowl, these visitors were richer — with an average household income of about $220,000 a year — and spent more, the study concluded. Attendees spent more than four times the typical Broward County visitor and nearly three times that of a Miami-Dade visitor. They stayed an average of five nights and spent about $668 per day.