January 30, 2013

Super Bowl: Just a $185 million tailgate party

Bloomberg News

New Orleans is awash in money this week, with an estimated $185 million changing hands during the runup to the Super Bowl.

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NFL teams spend more than they earn when they play in the Super Bowl at the Superdome in Louisiana.

The Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will be among those spending more than they are making, according to executives from the teams playing for the National Football League championship in the Superdome on Sunday.

"It's a very significant bill," Ravens President Dick Cass said in an interview. "You lose money. But there are long- term benefits that pay off later. Hey, we work hard all year long to go to the Super Bowl. I don't think anybody would trade off a short-term loss for winning a Super Bowl."

Neither the Ravens nor the 49ers would say exactly how much they will spend or what they expect their shortfalls to be, though past Super Bowl participants said it can be at least a few million dollars. PricewaterhouseCoopers said this week the game will generate $185 million in direct spending for New Orleans.

For the Super Bowl, each team is reimbursed for transportation expenses equal to 200 first-class airfares, and the winner gets $4.3 million while the runner-up gets $3.2 million.

Super Bowl appearances are rare so teams usually take their entire football and business staffs, plus their families. They also host clients and prospective business partners, the executives said.

That leaves the team paying for airfares, hotels, game tickets, numerous reception parties, gift baskets for their guests, and then there are the postgame parties -- win or lose -- with live entertainment.

"It's all about class; you want to do it right," said San Francisco 49ers President Gideon Yu, a former chief financial officer at Facebook and YouTube.


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