Everyone knows that a trip to the Super Bowl is out of the common person’s reach, with ticket prices starting at $850 (face value) and airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. all jacking their prices up to whatever the market will bear. Sadly, the market will bear plenty because most of the people attending the big game won’t be everyday, cash-carrying football fans but corporate clients taking advantage of huge expense accounts. We wouldn’t care, except that Uncle Sam subsidizes a good part of these junkets through tax writeoffs. There oughtta be a law, or at least some limits.
According to a column in Tuesday’s New York Times, the NFL and its corporate affiliates (“proud sponsors of Super Bowl XLVII”) had booked 25,000 of the New Orleans region’s estimated 37,000 hotel rooms. A cheap room by the airport that normally sells for $169 a night was selling for $840. A combination room/ticket package using a three-star hotel and two end-zone tickets was fetching $14,000. And a luxury suite at the game with seats for 30 cost $300,000. A chartered private jet from San Francisco for six to eight passengers was advertised for $35,000.
Obviously some people and some companies have money like that to throw around, but why does the government have to go along for the ride? Given the 35 percent corporate tax rate, taxpayers are probably subsidizing lavish Super Bowl trips to the tune of $100 million.
Yes, the big game has become increasingly important to host cities and, really, the entire U.S. economy, with tens of millions of people watching at parties, drinking beer and scarfing down chicken wings in excessive quantities. OK, but does it have to be such a giveaway to the corporations and their guests whom the game is actually played in front of?