SUPER BOWL SPECIAL : City Is Banking on a Big Payoff : $2-Million Start-Up Costs Could Reap $141 Million

Times Staff Writer

It has taken San Diego four years and a little more than $2 million to get ready for Sunday's Big Game.

If the financial forecasters are correct, that investment of time and money will reap a return of as much as $141 million--dollars spent by fans, corporations, the teams, and everyone else who has come to town to watch the Super Bowl.

From the printing and preparation of 3,000 press kits and 225,000 special tourist guides to the construction of about 21,000 temporary stadium seats and extra police security, the City of San Diego and the Super Bowl Task Force will have spent $2.3 million by the time the stadium lights are turned off late Sunday and the last wayward hot dog wrapper is corraled.

City's Cost About $900,000

According to Jack McGrory, the deputy city manager who has spearheaded City Hall's Super Bowl efforts, the city's cost will total about $900,000 when it's all said and done. Much of the money, about $500,000, was spent on helping expand the stadium to about 74,000 seats.

About $700,000 was spent on a new sound system at the stadium, but McGrory says this wasn't done specifically for the Super Bowl and shouldn't be included in the city's costs. The upgrading of the sound system--which has been the target of complaints for several years--was part of an existing plan to replace parts of a system that is as old as the 20-year-old stadium. Unlike the temporary seats, it is a permanent improvement.

Another direct Super Bowl cost, which will amount to $300,000, is for various ancillary expenses, ranging from beefed-up police protection in and around the stadium to turning over Torrey Pines Golf Course to the NFL for a week, at a cost of about $27,000, McGrory said.

While the city's contribution has been substantial, it certainly wasn't the only one. The Super Bowl Task Force, the nonprofit organization composed of private-sector and government leaders that did much of the work preparing the city, received funds from a wide variety of sources.

For example, the county chipped in $75,000 and the San Diego Unified Port District put in $100,000, as did the Hotel-Motel Assn. The Convention & Visitors Bureau contributed $200,000 and the Chamber of Commerce popped for $100,000.

Offset Costs

Aside from the money San Diego hopes to receive from a weeklong binge by free-spending fans, the city expects to offset its costs more directly through several contracts with Super Bowl vendors that total more than $600,000.

The largest contract is with ARA Leisure Services Inc. The company has guaranteed to pay $402,501 for the right to sell NFL novelties--the plethora of pennants, mugs, caps, T-shirts, jackets and the like that carry the NFL logo--all this week at the stadium and at the game.

City Will Split 50-50

The city, however, will split the amount 50-50 with the NFL.

The second-largest contract is with Keith Prowse & Co., the Atlanta-based firm that is creating the 150,000-square-foot Tent City outside the stadium for corporate parties.

In return for the right to build this bivouac, the grounds of which will cover more than 300,000 square feet, the Prowse company is paying the city a guaranteed $125,000 plus 19% of its gross revenues from Tent City rents. City officials estimate the total will reach $225,000.

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