- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - As Glendale prepares to host the Super Bowl next year, city officials and sports executives are lobbying the state to help offset costs.

The Arizona Republic reports (http://bit.ly/1aVmjgO) Glendale city leaders and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee have been working separately to get state funds to help stage the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.

State Rep. David Gowan submitted a bill Thursday proposing the state reimburse public-safety costs of up to $4 million for cities hosting large events. It also proposes an event meet certain criteria to qualify for the reimbursement. The event was awarded through a competitive bidding process, garners at least 14,000 attendees and is broadcast live on television.

Representatives from Glendale and the host committee say state funding is crucial if Arizona wants to keep playing host.

“If we don’t get something like this, we’re going to be forced in the future not to host major events because we simply can’t afford it,” Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said.

Senate Minority Whip Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said events such as the Super Bowl do have an impact statewide and he would support the legislation.

“We have some great entertainment events that get national attention that drives people from across the country to Arizona,” he said. “I think we need to do what we can to help offset some of the cost.”

When Glendale hosted the Super Bowl back in 2008, the city ended up spending $2.2 million on public safety. The projected cost for next year’s game is about the same.

According to a study commissioned by the city, visitors spent $213 million on new direct taxable purchases during the 2008 Super Bowl. However, the study also shows the city lost $2 million because the few hotel options near the stadium.

Meanwhile, the Super Bowl host committee and other business groups have joined efforts to get financial backing for hosting major events. David Rousseau, president of Salt River Project and chairman of the committee, said the bill Glendale is lobbying for doesn’t go far enough. The committee and the Arizona Tourism & Sports Authority are submitting a proposal that a state fund also cover venue and game operations, hospitality, fan experiences and other expenses.

Both measures would likely merge once a budget is put together by lawmakers.

Rousseau says other states already have measures that offer public funds to committees hosting sporting events that draw tourists. Currently, committee members are relying on private donations which could amount to $30 million for the 2015 game, Rousseau said.

“It’s a heavy task to continue to circle right back for the next event to that same business community,” he said.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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