The big winner at Super Bowl XLV? The NFL

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 11:03 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 4 at 5:12 AM

It will be weeks before we know whether Super Bowl XLV has been a good deal for North Texas. 

But it's certainly a winner for the National Football League.

The 200-page contract between the NFL and the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee reveals all the freebies the league received for bringing its party here. 

The contract's key phrase, repeated often, is "at no cost to the NFL."  The list covers food, hotels, events, venues, tickets, and — most of all — control.

"It's a pretty stiff contract," acknowledged host committee chairman Bill Lively. "But we knew it going in."

The NFL gets total control of all the tickets for the Super Bowl, and it keeps 25 percent for itself. 

The remaing 35 percent goes primarily to the two competing teams.

Each of the other NFL teams gets about 1 percent and the home team gets 5 percent.

While Jerry Jones may hold the keys to Cowboys Stadium, for the week before and after Super Bowl XLV, the NFL controls the dome — at no cost.

On game day, the league gets 30,000 parking spots outside; one end outside the stadium for its tailgate party; and 150 premium suites inside. 

The NFL receives all of this tax-free, at a savings of at least $7 million, according to the contract.   The tax bill goes to the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee.

But that's not all the NFL and related events are getting for nothing.

The NFL Experience pays no rent for its use of the Dallas Convention Center. The league keeps all income from tickets and food sold inside.

On Saturday night, the Taste of the NFL will pay just $1 in rent for the Fort Worth Convention Center.

A total of 74 venues across North Texas were offered to the NFL rent-free for various Super Bowl events.

The competing teams get 120 free hotel rooms, as well as practice facilities, weight rooms, locker rooms and coaches' offices.  

Inside the game, the NFL determines the menu and takes part of the profit from all food sold. 

Concessionaires are required to use NFL-branded products when possible. And there's a  list of 92 products to which the league sells rights, including tomato sauce, milk, nasal strips, breath mints, tortilla chips, and — of course — beer.

The cost of putting this party on comes primarily from corporate sponsorships.  The host committee has sold $26 million sponsorships to North Texas companies. It hopes that more North Texas Super Bowls and commerce will flow from this year's game.

The money bet, meanwhile, is with the NFL. 

"They're very adept at making money from this sporting event," said sports economist Craig Depken of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "It's arguably the biggest sporting event in the world."

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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