Texas bets big money on Super Bowl LI

Look of Super Bowl LIVE Fan Festival at Discovery Green in Houston. (Courtesy: Ken Miller)
Look of Super Bowl LIVE Fan Festival at Discovery Green in Houston. (Courtesy: Ken Miller)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas has a lot riding on Super Bowl LI. The state is betting on an economic boom that many experts say will be significantly smaller than current estimates. Texas set aside $25.4 million to help Houston pay to play host to Super Bowl LI.

The state’s Major Events Trust Fund uses tax money to cover the cost of Super Bowl preparations and activities. The state will pay out the reimbursement after the game and the final amount will be determined by how much money the Houston Super Bowl Committee spent, up to but no more than $25.4 million. The rest of the committee’s $63 million budget is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors. Money from the Major Events fund can be used to pay down debt from facility improvements, preparation costs, as well as equipment and operation for the 2017 Super Bowl.

Based on a 2016 study, the Houston Super Bowl Committee estimates the game and surrounding events will bring in $350 million, including about $31 million in city and state tax revenue. Most experts believe those numbers are overblown and the Super Bowl won’t be the economic boom many had hoped for. The big game comes as Houston is recovers from the latest oil bust and the city welcomed new, but mostly temporary job opportunities.

“There are a lot of companies picking people up,” said Coretta Jackson. The Super Bowl put her back to work after she was laid off last year. “It’s a lot of different job opportunities for a lot of people that want to work.” She will be working security at the game Sunday, hopeful more events and more work will follow.

The $25.4 million secured by the Super Bowl committee is much higher than what Houston got the last time the city hosted a Super Bowl. The state’s Major Events fund shelled out $8.7 million in reimbursements after the game in 2004.

The Atlanta Falcons take on the Boston Patriots in the championship game at Houston’s NRG Stadium Sunday, Feb. 5.

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