By Kevin Collison
Being a successful NFL city doesn’t come cheap.
The estimated cost to city taxpayers for a hoped-for Feb. 15 celebration should the Chiefs win the Super Bowl was estimated at least $2.25 million at a City Council committee meeting Wednesday.
That figure includes a $750,000 transfer to the KC Sports Commission to run the parade and rally at Union Station, and what Mayor Quinton Lucas estimated as more than $1.5 million in overtime costs for police and fire fighters.
The city also has asked Jackson County for an additional $400,000 to help throw the event. It would resemble the 2020 Super Bowl parade and rally that drew an estimated 500,000 people.
Add that to the $3 million the City Council recently approved to help pay for the NFL Draft weekend in late April at Union Station, city taxpayers are looking at potentially spending more than $5 million on NFL-related events in the coming weeks.
The Council Finance Committee unanimously endorsed the $750,000 payment to the Sports Commission which is expected to be approved by the full Council today.
The funds will pay for decorations, parking, equipment rental, printing, security, an interpreter and catering. The Commission also is seeking $1.1 million in private sponsorships for the celebration.
During a presentation, committee members were told the potential Super Bowl parade and rally is expected to draw more than a half-million people with 100,000 coming from out of town to celebrate. The backup date would be Feb. 16.
“We know this parade will bring a lot of tourism dollars from outside the region which is great which is why I feel it’s a good investment because we will reap the benefit expnsentially,” said Councilwoman Melissa Robinson.
Robinson was concerned however, that taking the $750,000 out of what’s called the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund would shortchange other smaller projects and events in the city.
She was assured by Forest Decker, director of Neighborhood Services, the money would not come solely from this year’s budget.
Decker said the Tourist Development Fund had been setting aside 10 percent of its budget in recent years for a contingency fund to help cover unexpected big events like a Super Bowl parade.
But it was Lucas who added an expensive caveat to the discussion.
“I’ll just give away the barn on this,” the mayor said.
“There will probably be an excess of $1.5 million of overtime for public safety relating to this which is not anticipated in this contract or agreement in the county.”
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