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Super Bowl costs add up for Tampa

TAMPA — The city appears likely to spend more than $1-million to host the Super Bowl and related events as it reassigns employees to transportation and security duties.

City officials insist they are honoring Mayor Pam Iorio's pledge to commit no more than $1-million in in-kind services to the game, with their latest figures estimating costs at $646,080.

But their total does not include salaries paid to employees pulled from regular duties for the Super Bowl, which would put the city over its mark.

For example, in the transportation department, staff costs will top $200,000, and police time will reach at least $330,000 — over and above the city's estimate.

"We are working very hard to keep costs down," Iorio said. "The real cost to the city will only be determined after the event and after all reimbursements."

The city's $646,080 spending estimate includes:

• $17,312 for Tampa Fire Rescue overtime and extra duty.

• $333,000 for Police Department overtime and extra duty.

• $50,000 to landscape and beautify medians and other rights of way.

• $768 for code enforcement overtime.

• $245,000 for traffic control.

The NFL will reimburse the city $311,500 for some additional transportation, fire rescue and police expenses, said Santiago Corrada, the city's manager of neighborhood services and point person for Super Bowl planning.

He said he doesn't consider paying employees who work on the Super Bowl during a normal workday an in-kind cost.

"We're trying to be efficient with folks that are working," he said. "We've all just taken it on as additional duties. It's been extra work. But that's part of hosting the Super Bowl."

In some cases, schedules have been adjusted to avoid paying too much overtime. For example, code enforcement officers, who normally work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will work shifts of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 3 to 11 p.m. the week before the Super Bowl.

That week, instead of looking for overgrown yards and inoperative cars, code enforcement officers will make sure vendors hawking food, T-shirts and other items have the proper permits and abide by other rules.

In addition to costs absorbed by the city — as well as county, state and federal agencies — the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee has to raise $12-million to pay for the game and related events.

About $4-million of that will come from the state's Florida Sports Foundation and county tourist development taxes.

Even accounting for inflation, that's about twice as much as the host committee had to raise in 2001, the last time Tampa hosted the Super Bowl.

Among other items, the increased costs come from the higher price of installing a playing field for this year's game at Raymond James Stadium, which cost $85,000, and putting in 6,000 additional seats.

The committee also has to pay $1-million for game-day expenses — such as security, electricity and clean-up — which in 2001 cost the committee only about $250,000, said Reid Sigmon, executive director of the host committee.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league makes no specific demands.

"Each city prepares its own bid based on what it can deliver and what it believes puts itself in the best position to compete against other cities," he said.

Last month, the city and the Tampa Sports Authority, which manages the stadium and pays Super Bowl bills that are later reimbursed, bickered with the league over who would pay for what, including extra security.

"Our understanding is that these costs are to be paid by the NFL. However, we understand that the NFL may not honor this commitment," Corrada wrote to the authority in a letter last month. "If the NFL will not pay these costs, the city will reimburse TSA."

Corrada said there was "some confusion" about what the NFL would cover.

"I can tell you from the Tampa Sports Authority's point of view, we're going to get reimbursed either through the NFL or the city," said TSA executive director Henry Saavedra. "We're not incurring any costs that we're going to keep."

Although those involved declined to offer details, Sigmon said discussions with the NFL were friendly.

"In anything, there are negotiations," he said. "But everyone is very happy with where we are. The NFL's been a great partner. All sides are honoring the commitments — the city, the host committee, the TSA and the NFL."

Iorio said expenses associated with the Super Bowl are worth it.

"This event brings national recognition to our city. It exposes many corporate decisionmakers to the attributes of our city and region and pays dividends in later years that can't be easily quantified today," she said. "We are committed to hosting a first-rate Super Bowl and vie for others in the future."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Super Bowl costs add up for Tampa 01/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 12:25pm]
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