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No More Super Bowls in Miami?

2010 January 11
by Skip Sauer

A story in today’s Boston Herald reports that posted prices for Super Bowl tickets range from $2,000 to $5,000 in the secondary market. Here are some interesting quotes from market participants:

“The corporate orders are way down. Definitely the corporations are under scrutiny because of what’s going on in the world,” said Michael Lipman, president and CEO of Miami-based Tickets of America, which sells Super Bowl tickets. “This is a total fan-driven Super Bowl. What teams are in is going to dictate the market and prices.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be an easy ticket, though.

“This year because of it being in Miami, it’s extremely popular,” said Robert Tuchman, executive vice president of Premier Global Sports, which arranges corporate and group travel to sporting events. “Also, because the economy has bounced back a little bit, there’s more interest than last year in Tampa.”

Tuchman’s company, which runs sportstravel.com, has already sold out of packages at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and Epic Hotel in Miami.

Not bad for a recession-wracked economy. As I read the story, I recalled an opinion piece in the Miami Herald last week, which excoriated Commissioner Goodell and the NFL for the following threat:

As Super Bowl XLIV approaches, the National Football League has delivered a not-so-sporting message to hosting South Floridians: Bend over.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned local officials that this might be the last Super Bowl game held at Dolphin Stadium unless the facility is refurbished at a cost of $250 million, give or take.

Although the league is wallowing in profits, it has no intention of bankrolling the renovations. The Dolphins haven’t said how much, if any, the team would contribute.

Most likely, the money would have to come from public funds, possibly hotel bed taxes collected in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

It’s old-fashioned extortion, but the NFL has no shame. You’d have better luck negotiating with the Gambino family.

Forget the recession. Forget the fact that our boneheaded politicians just committed $490 million to a new baseball park that is doomed to be a budgetary suckhole for decades.

And forget the fact that the football stadium was renovated just a few years ago for $200 million-plus, and that the Dolphins admit they don’t need any upgrades for regular-season games.

Mr. Goodell is a fussy fellow. He would like swankier skyboxes and new hi-def lighting, please. He would also like an expanded roof on the stadium to prevent raindrops from dampening the festivities.

Now, it strikes me that the statements of market participants quoted in the Boston Herald ring true: people are willing to pay top dollar for a Super Bowl ticket in February, because it is paired with a trip to Miami Beach, warm weather, and so on. Can stadium amenities really be worth an investment of an additional $250 million, for a single game once every six to ten years, in which the city itself and its natural surroundings, more than anything else, dictate the demand for this particular location?

If this is indeed a standard “relocation” threat being foisted on local taxpayers by the NFL, it does not seem credible to me.

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