THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
Here is a rather large understatement. The Super Bowl is a big deal in America. It is more than a game; political movements including the passage of the Martin Luther King holiday in Arizona and changes in radio and TV indecency laws can be directly traced to the Super Bowl.
Even though Super Bowl weekend is not officially acknowledged as a national holiday, it is indeed a de facto holiday with an economic impact on virtually every community in the country because of parties. It is also the biggest betting day of the year both legally and illegally. Super Bowl TV ads are rated for likeability by viewers.
The East Rutherford, New Jersey-based New York Giants will be playing in the big game. But do Giants fans really want to know about the business of the big game?
The answer is no. They care only about the Giants winning but Indianapolis, like many other cities and states, is a government partner of sports. Without tax dollars, there is no Indianapolis Super Bowl. Without tax dollars there may be no new East Rutherford Giants-Jets stadium either.
The multimillion and billionaire NFL owners are on the public dole.
The Super Bowl is a big deal but just how much does the individual who will watch or attend a Super Bowl party really know about the host city which in this case is Indianapolis, Indiana and how the Super Bowl ended up in this mid-market sized Midwest city that seems to be an outlier metropolis for such a big event?
The only reason Indianapolis is hosting a Super Bowl is that the state did right by the NFL owners and built a new stadium for the local franchise. The NFL uses the Super Bowl as a carrot to get new facilities built and the old Miami-Tampa-Phoenix-New Orleans-San Diego warm weather cities rotation is gone. Miami and South Florida will not host a Super Bowl until significant renovations are made at the Dolphins Broward County stadium.
San Diego is in the same boat. But Tampa has a new facility, the Phoenix suburb of Glendale has a new facility, Louisiana rebuilt the Superdome, they are in. Houston, Detroit, Arlington, Texas and East Rutherford, New Jersey were given the "Big Game" because of new facilities.
Normally, Indianapolis would never be considered although big time men's college basketball championships have been held there and in late May there is the Indianapolis 500. It is not a place people want to go to in early February because of weather. The city built a domed stadium and this is it. The only time the Super Bowl will be held in Indianapolis.
Indiana is not doing very well financially. The Governor Mitch Daniels and his Republican colleagues have decided one way to control government spending is to take collective bargaining rights away from municipal employees. Yet Indianapolis and the state seem to have no problem telling Hoosiers that they have to dig deeper into their collective pockets to pay for professional sports in Indianapolis.
The National Football League Players Association, which will have some association members in Indianapolis during the Super Bowl and the subsequent NFL Scouting Combine at the end of February, is coming down on the municipal employees side. They have made it known they support the right for municipal workers in Indiana to have collective bargaining rights whether the Governor or his Republicans colleagues like it or not.