Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Controversy of Super Bowl City

Most of us are aware of the recently created Super Bowl City that was created to draw crowds to the massive event being held very close to us. While this may seem like an effective way to increase tourism in San Francisco, the reality is not so pretty. The City of San Francisco is paying 5 million dollars to make this happen (1). I personally find it ridiculous that the city would spent so much money on a party for one of the richest companies in the world. According to Forbes, the NFL’s revenue for 2013 was around 9 billion dollars. Should the NFL not be responsible for paying for their own party that is advertising their event that’s not even happening in San Francisco?
The price of the Super Bowl City is not the only concern people are having with it. For starters it has made people’s lives more difficult. My Mom was personally affected by Super Bowl City as she works a quarter mile away from it. Super Bowl City has made her usually hour long commute even longer to a grueling 2 hours.
My least favorite part of Super Bowl City is not the enormous cost or the stress and time taken away from the people who work nearby, but actually how the homeless have been treated. The homeless have been forced to leave the area and some were even given tickets and had their tents taken away (3). This is not addressing the issue of homelessness, but only making it more difficult for the people that are homeless.
So what do you think? Should San Francisco have held such an extravagant event? Was the treatment of the homeless necessary to create an image of cleanliness in the City?



Hannah Fontanos said...

I agree with you that San Francisco's funding for the City is pretty ridiculous. The NFL has a high enough revenue to be able to pay for it themselves. I am annoyed that San Francisco chose to waste so much money on a lavish event. I think that the money the city used to pay for the party should have been used to address the problem of homelessness in the city.
Furthermore, the inconvenience that Super Bowl City causes for people who need to commute through San Francisco is terrible. I think that the potential tourism that Super Bowl City could generate for San Francisco will not outweigh the problems the city has consequently put on commuters and San Francisco's inhabitants.
In regards to the treatment of the homeless, I found their treatment unfair and unnecessary. Giving the homeless tickets to the Super Bowl does not compensate for their tents being taken away. I think that helping the homeless is a more important task than generating tourism in San Francisco by promoting Super Bowl City.
Overall, I find San Francisco's funding of Super Bowl City to be wasteful. The money that they're spending would have a more meaningful use if it was for helping the homeless.

Annika Olives said...

I agree with both Andy and Hannah that this is a big problem. Super Bowl City shouldn't even be in SF in the first place--Levi Stadium is in Santa Clara, almost an hour away. I know that many people are arguing that it's going to bring a lot of tourism, but in a city like SF that already has so many tourists year-round, will the Super Bowl actually do anything to help the local economy?

Daniel Lurie stated in a Fortune article that, "twenty-five percent of every corporate sponsorship dollar is contributed to the 50 Fund, the Host Committee’s 501c3 arm, established to manage and allocate funds to deserving non-profits in the Bay Area," so part of the proceeds will go back to the community. However, I still think that people don't actually know how big of a problem homelessness is. Gentrification has risen in the last few years due to the huge amount of tech people and entrepreneurs moving into the city and forcing long-time residents out. Housing is scarce and rent is high, leaving those who don't make as much money with no place to live.

Super Bowl City is the perfect example of the lack of care with which San Francisco treats its homeless and lower class, and I hope that the administration now sees homelessness as something to be fixed rather than something to hide away.

Jeffrey Song said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey Song said...

Adding on to what people have already commented, according to a NYTimes article, there has been substantial effect on the immediate environment as well as a result of the 'city': "National Park Service officials complained that they had spent hours cleaning up hundreds of gallons of debris from a Super Bowl-related fireworks show after it washed up at Aquatic Park.."

I think that the root of this problem is actually far deeper and more complex than it appears on the outside. In recent years, San Francisco has seen a massive influx of high-end restaurants and stores to accommodate the rapidly growing population of tech workers whom in general have much better wages and stability when compared to other jobs. Because of this, many low-income neighborhoods have had their housing prices and living expenses skyrocket - obviously angering said group and aggravating the source of this controversy and disapproval over the mayor's decision to host the Super Bowl 50. However, the mayor justifies his actions as in the best overall interest of the city, not just the best interests of those specific low-income communities. According to him, "the city will pull in far more from hotel and sales taxes than the $5 million it is spending... and profits will fund services for residents."
Ultimately, whether or not his statement will prove to be valid, it certainly raises an interesting question. With the rapid expansion of the city and its tendency to attract tech workers - a job known for its comparatively high wages/benefits - how will the Mayor balance the interests of the vastly different groups in the city? How should he? I think that's what this really boils down to.

note: deleted & re-added comment because I forgot to add my source the first time