BlogWood Redux: Tampa wins Whore Off

August 4, 2005

Note: As noted previously, I’m re-posting some tired old stuff during this time of light blogging. This post first appeared in May.

Fond of inserting annoying little creatures into his rectum.
Fond of inserting annoying little creatures into his rectum.

Like Mr. Slave, who brilliantly answered Paris Hilton’s pineapple trick by entirely inserting Paris herself into his asshole and lisping “Oooh, Jesus Christ!”, Tampa has won a big Whore Off contest by simply out-whoring the other big whores: because we were number two, we whored harder .

Wearing snappy suits and anxious looks, Tampa Bay area leaders leapt from their chairs, whooped, hugged and pumped their fists. It was as if they had just won the Super Bowl.

In an upset, they had.

Tampa was awarded Super Bowl XLIII by a vote of NFL owners Wednesday at the league’s spring meeting, narrowly beating Atlanta with promises of roller-coaster rides, golf courses and sunshine.
……

Tampa Bay spiced up its bid Tuesday with an additional $1 million, including $759,000 for tending (sic) the NFL Experience, bringing the bid total to about $11 million. Tampa also promised to give the 31 NFL owners 150 tickets each to a party at Tampa’s Busch Gardens the night before the big game.

$230,000 worth of tickets to Busch Gardens – I wonder if the unused ones are redeemable for cash? The tickets were part of the original bid, which has been widely reported to be worth around $10 million – 3 times the value of the next sleaziest city’s bid, and a record that will no doubt have to be surpassed by the next group of sluts that offer themselves in exchange for promises of fame and fortune.

“We made every concession any city can make,” said Paul Catoe, CEO of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There’s no city out there that can beat what we have on the table. We’ve given the NFL $1 million in game-day expenses … no one else is stepping to the plate with $1 million.”

So, now we’re officially up to $11 million, but we can expect that figure to rise exponentially, as it did in Jacksonville.

The additional costs bring the city’s overall tab to $12.9 million for hosting the Super Bowl, which drew more than 100,000 visitors. That’s more than four times the $2.8 million estimated in February 2004.

Still, 10 or 12 or $44 million is money well spent, since the economic impact of these games is legendary .

“We always like events that generate a tremendous economic impact,” said Mark Huey, Tampa’s economic development manager.

Tampa didn’t do an economic impact study after the 2001 Super Bowl, said Paul Catoe, president of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. But studies showed that the game pumped $340 million into San Diego in 2003.

“By the time it rolls around back to Tampa we’re probably in the neighborhood of $350- to $370-million,” Catoe said.

That’s quite an impressive number that Mr. Catoe is pulling out of his ass (Oooh, Jesus Christ!). It’s too bad that no one did a study of the 2001 game. Oh, wait: Tampa didn’t do a study, but the NFL says that the game provided a $250 million economic impact.

“I think those are gross exaggerations,” said Alan Sanderson, a University of Chicago economist.

Out of that multimillion-dollar number, he said, you have to subtract expenditures that would have happened regardless of the Super Bowl. Take out jacked-up hotel room prices that go to an out-of-town company like Hyatt. Take out ticket prices and souvenir sales for hats and jerseys made outside of Florida. Subtract the millions that won’t be spent at area malls because of Super Bowl-related events.

Then add in estimates that Sanderson says are usually not included in forecasts, such as “additional security costs, marketing and advertising that the NFL may foist off on the locals to do.”

In the end, “if the NFL gives you a number of $300-million, I’m going to say $50-million max of that” will end up helping the Tampa economy, he said.

Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., said that while a Super Bowl can pull in many out-of-town fans, those fans are usually replacing other visitors who would be in town anyway. It’s a phenomenon that is particularly pronounced in a warm-weather city such as Tampa, which draws large numbers of visitors during the winter months.

Philip Porter, an Economist at USF, has made a name for himself studying the financial impacts of Super Bowls and other big sports events. Back in 2000, he suggested, though in a more genteel way than I ever would, that certain people had been pulling figures out of their asses for quite some time.

One must wonder where the impact number came from. The Task Force didn’t commission a study and none of the members are economists.

History didn’t reveal it to them because I’ve studied Super Bowl impacts and there is nothing in the record of economic activity that suggests this. I’d bet the mortgage that the Task Force members couldn’t tell us what those numbers mean or how they were estimated.

It’s a good bet because $250 million is so far beyond possibility and the truth is so easily observed that if the Task Force had any clue, they would never make such a claim.

The facts are the National Football League gave the Task Force that figure. It represents a gross exaggeration, and the Task Force should know better than to trust the NFL’s objectivity.

The NFL uses these figures to justify government subsidies to teams including paying $400 million for Raymond James Stadium.

It’s important that we all understand what economic impact means.

Economic impact is merely sales impact. That’s important when economic impact is used to justify government expenditures. The $400 million that taxpayers will pay for RJS and the several million dollars we pay to support the Super Bowl are tax dollars, and every dollar of sales impact generates only about a nickel of tax receipts for local governments.

We need $8 billion of sales impact to pay for RJS and $100 million to pay the cost of hosting the Super Bowl.

The Task Force should do its own work and question whether $250 million worth of sales is reasonable.

Consider that Hillsborough County now sells about $1 billion worth of goods and services in a typical January, roughly $65 million every two days. For us to absorb even 25 percent of the NFL’s claim in two days, we would have to sell twice as much of everything — not just twice as many hotel rooms and restaurant meals, but twice as many cars, boats, refrigerators, television sets, clothing items, stereos, furniture, lawn mowers and weed whackers. Every line in every store would have to be twice as long as usual on Super Bowl weekend.

Consider that Tampa Bay area hotels typically are 80-percent full in late January and that 85 percent is considered fully occupied — so there is not much available space.

With double occupancy, we would have to build 100 large hotels to handle the additional people. Consider that roughly 40,000 people pass through Tampa Bay area airports each day. We’d have to more than double the number of flights at every airport to handle the new influx. It takes nearly 700 jet flights to ferry 100,000 people. If you could somehow manage to land and service an additional plane every six minutes, it would take more than three days to deliver them using the Task Force’s economic impact number as a base.

Tampa already hosted two Super Bowls and Hillsborough County collects data on sales. The Task Force should make its own comparisons.

In January 1991 when Tampa hosted the Super Bowl, Hillsborough County recorded sales of $720 million. It had sales of $727 million the previous January (1990) and $742 million the next January.

In January 1984, when Tampa hosted the Super Bowl, Hillsborough County recorded sales of $472 million. The average for the preceding and following Januarys was $482 million.

And this economic impact evidence is consistent with every Super Bowl.

In Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Minn., and Detroit, and in every Super Bowl in California, sales do not respond to the presence of a Super Bowl.

The NFL’s estimates are wrong and they know it.

OK – it seems that any economic impact may, in fact, be legendary after all. Probably less than the annual economic impact of the arts in our area, and certainly more costly to attract. So much for the fortune. But we still have fame, right?

Well, as Mr. Porter is fond of pointing out, we may have a better chance at infamy than fame. If the game were in another city, we could purchase a TV spot and make our pitch. Not so with the game here. Anyone remember Bamboleo?

In 1991, as the world watched, Tampa’s white elite showed their true color by refusing to let any black folk take part in the Gasparilla Parade , which had been scheduled to coincide with the Super Bowl that year. (Actually, several people of color were slated to march – carrying shovels behind the horses.)

The parade was called off, Bamboleo was cobbled together at the last minute as a lame ass substitute, and promptly ignored by everyone, especially these people.

In the late 1980s, early in her term as mayor, Freedman found herself ducking for cover under a table at the Tampa Yacht Club while some of Tampa’s most prominent citizens — dressed as pirates for a pre-Gasparilla luncheon — mischievously hurled volleys of food and silverware at each other.

The people making the mess had been drinking. They were white, moneyed and male. The people who would have to clean it up, Freedman noticed, were all black.

“You could just see the disgust, the disillusionment” on those workers’ faces, she said.

The experience crystallized Freedman’s qualms about Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the 750-member, all-male social club — then exclusively white — that sponsors Tampa’s biggest one-day outdoor event, the annual Gasparilla invasion and parade. In 1990, Freedman decided to pull police support and clean-up service for the parade — which had cost the city $30,000 — because of its all-white membership.

That was a painful year for the Krewe, a national embarrassment that members don’t like to talk about. With the parade moved to coincide with Super Bowl XXV in January 1991, the Krewe came under fire for its exclusivity from the National Football League and an ad hoc group of local activists called the Coalition of African-American Organizations, which demanded that the Krewe integrate. Rather than immediately open its doors to blacks, the Krewe canceled the party.

After the 1991 Gasparilla parade was scuttled, the city scrambled to come up with a substitute. The result was Bamboleo, a multicultural festival, which flopped. People missed the pirates. The next year, the Krewe accepted two blacks into its ranks, then four.

There are plenty of other examples too.

Porter recalled that some of the press coverage of this year’s Super Bowl in Jacksonville focused on how quiet and boring that city is, while the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa generated coverage of local strip clubs and lap dances.

“You are exposing your community, but the exposure may be good or bad,” he said. “It’s not “priceless,’ and it’s not advertising.”
……

“It means a whole helluva lot of money for this area,” said Joe Redner, owner of several Tampa strip clubs. Previous Super Bowl weekends have been his biggest moneymakers. “We raise the prices, and we have more people. It’s just a bonanza.”

Actually, Joe Redner is one of the best things that Tampa has going for it, so if the game benefits him, then it may well benefit the rest of us just through his community minded largess. Ironically, Tampa’s civic leaders spend countless government resources unconstitutionally legislating morality just to fight Joe, despite the fact that his world famous Mons Venus probably provides a greater economic impact than the handful of football games that the Bucs play at home every year in their shiny taxpayer financed stadium. We should be building Joe a new strip club with luxury skyboxes. But I digress.

Fans at the 2001 game were reportedly happy with the strip clubs and lap dances, but many took offense when it was learned that big brother was watching them watch the game.

the Tampa Police Department employed a recently developed surveillance system to take pictures of all those entering Raymond James Stadium for Sunday’s Super Bowl. The ACLU believes this activity raises serious concerns about the Fourth Amendment right of all citizens to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
……

Reports indicate that the Tampa police digitized the facial images and checked them electronically with databases maintained by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Among the many things that are not clear about this program is whether the images were checked against those who have a record of a criminal conviction or databases that include records of those law enforcement agencies regard as criminal suspects. Reports of the use of this surveillance technology also indicate that the same technology has recently been installed for use in the Ybor City section of Tampa.

We fully understand that while everyone has a reduced expectation of privacy while in public, including sitting in the stands with one’s family at a Sunday afternoon football game, we do not believe that the public understands or accepts that they will be subjected to a computerized police lineup as a condition of admission.

The Ybor technology alluded to in the ACLU letter was the infamous FACE-IT system. Tampa was leading the Orwellian bandwagon back then.

Still, I suppose the contention can be made that any publicity is good – if Tampa’s name is getting out there, then we will benefit in the long run. And we may find a nice niche by targeting the aging paranoid racists who would trade civil liberties for the illusion of security demographic, but I’m just not swayed by those arguments.

And I’m getting tired, so I’ll wrap up this rambling reality based screed by pointing out an interesting coincidence that may imply that maybe, just maybe, the fix was in and we didn’t really have to be the biggest whore in the contest just to get fucked by the NFL.

It was May 1987, one week before the host city for Super Bowl XXV was to be announced at a press conference in San Diego, and Walter Baldwin’s heart had just dropped to his stomach.

Baldwin, chairman of Tampa’s Super Bowl Task Force, had learned that a key player in Tampa’s bid, Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, was going to skip the press conference to vacation in China.

Baldwin panicked. How could the home team’s owner miss the announcement? He called Culverhouse. “What have you done?” he yelled.

Apparently, Culverhouse knew something Baldwin didn’t. “Don’t worry about it,” he said calmly. “It’s all taken care of.”

And in 2005,

when Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl committee officially revealed Tuesday its bid to host the Super Bowl in 2009, the panel that met the media at Raymond James Stadium was missing a key player – a member of the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers.

Neither Malcolm Glazer nor sons Bryan, Joel and Edward appeared among the tourism and political officials to voice their support for Tampa’s bid.

Oooh!

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