Notebook > Sports

Championship windfall

Sports | Big Super Bowl payouts help offset the massive costs many cities undertake when they help teams build stadiums

Issue: "Snakepit," Feb. 11, 2006

Long after the Super Bowl fans leave Detroit, the money will stay-an estimated $302 million. That figure comes from a study conducted by Lawrence Technological University (in conjunction with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) spotlighting exactly how much of an economic boon the NFL's Super Bowl on Feb. 5 can be.

An estimated 120,000 visitors planned to travel to Detroit for the 2006 Super Bowl game between Seattle and Pittsburgh-many of them in town for sideshows and not the game itself. That means between jacked-up hotel prices and full restaurants (and other sources) a Super Bowl city can make out like a bandit. Other cities have. The 2003 Super Bowl generated a total economic impact in the San Diego area of $367 million, according to a study by Marketing Information Masters, Inc., much more than the $295 million impact on the region the previous time the Super Bowl came to town, in 1998.

Big Super Bowl payouts help offset the massive costs many cities undertake when they help teams build stadiums. Local governments poured $125 million into the Ford Field project in Detroit. And generous estimates peg the tax revenue from the Super Bowl weekend around $22 million.

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Fans aren't the only ones shelling out the cash. The league could be saddled with a bill up to $1.125 million for Super Bowl rings for the victors and other, cheaper jewelry for the losers. And players won't get off entirely. Because of Michigan's so-called jock tax, football players who compete in the Super Bowl have to forfeit 3.4 percent of their wages to the state for the days they work in Michigan. For Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, the levy is about $10,000. Michigan isn't alone in its taxation of athletes who pass through but do not live in the state. Nearly 20 other states impose jock taxes, forcing Seahawks players to pay taxes in eight different states as a result of the 2005-06 season.

Around the Horn

Just because fewer people are watching doesn't mean tennis star Roger Federer's current run is any less impressive. After capturing the Australian Open at the end of January, Mr. Federer, 24, moved one step closer to holding all the major titles. All he needs now is a victory in June at the French Open to complete what pundits have preemptively called the Roger Slam. If he can pull it off, it would make eight grand slams before his 25th birthday.

After a failed bit on British reality television, former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman wants to return to the Association. Mr. Rodman, as well-known a rebounder as he was a freak show, laced up for the Brighton Bears of the British Basketball League on Jan. 28. He hopes he can get himself in shape in the BBL for an unlikely return to the NBA. If successful, Mr. Rodman, 44, would become the oldest player ever to play in the NBA, eclipsing Robert Parrish, who played at 43.

All this time, reporters around the San Francisco Giants organization just thought surly Giants slugger Barry Bonds hated the media spotlight. But perhaps it's just when he can't control it. The Giants confirmed Mr. Bonds is talking with Major League Baseball and ESPN about basing a reality television show on the outfielder's life to air Tuesday evenings during the baseball season. Mr. Bonds has some rehabbing of his image to do-but judging by his past performance in front of cameras, it seems Mr. Bonds needs a reality check more than a reality series.

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