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Super Bowl's Arizona host may be on the hook for millions

Super Bowl host cities can see a major economic boost when the NFL comes to town.

But the mayor of Glendale, Arizona - home to Super Bowl XLIX - is questioning the money-making potential of this year's big game, CBS News' David Begnaud reports.

"I think if you looked in the till at the end of the day, I think you'll have less money in it than came in," said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers.

Weiers suspects that when the sun sets on Super Bowl XLIX, the only real loser may be his city.

"I'm sure that we're going to spend $3 million," Weiers said. "I would hope, in tax revenues, that we can actually account for well over a million, probably 1.2, 3."

Roughly, that would be a $2 million loss, and he's basing his projection on history. When Glendale hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, the city estimates it lost $1.6 million.

"We brought in less money than we spent, just bottom line," Weiers said.

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University of Phoenix stadium, where Super Bowl XLIX is being held
CBS News

The biggest expense then and now: public safety.

"The cost [of public safety] ranging from about $2.5 to $3.5 million," he said.

Arizona legislators rejected a bill that would've reimbursed the city of Glendale for half of the public-safety cost. Weiers said the state should pay because it benefits from the game.

"If we don't have the event, the state makes no money," Weiers said. "If we have the event, the state makes far more than what our cost to public safety is. It's a win-win."

The cost of public safety is just one in a list of expenses a city has to accept when it wins the chance to host the world's largest single-day event. Among the NFL's other demands: Police escorts, free parking spaces, access to golf courses and a bowling alley and catering discounts.

"They can get away with it because it's the Super Bowl," said Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva, a sports and entertainment marketing company. "And the value that they're bringing to that city definitely far outweighs the demands that they put on those cities, or what they have to succumb to, to actually host the event."

The NFL says its host committees have estimated as much as $600 million in economic benefits to a city that hosts the championship game. Some economists lower that number to $50 million.

In nearby Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton sees more benefit than risk.

"Look, if you want to be in the Super Bowl-hosting business, there's not a lot of negotiation that goes on with the NFL," Stanton said. "They have certain requirements, but I believe as mayor it is certainly worthwhile for us to put our best face forward to the rest of the world."

In Phoenix, they're building the NFL Experience - a Disneyland-like arcade of football memorabilia and entertainment that has in the past attracted 200,000 fans.

"Downtown Phoenix will be the place to be - again the centralized location for all the Super Bowl-related activities," said Devney Preuss with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

"I'm not upset about that," Weiers said. "We don't have the restaurants and things in Glendale that we'd need to accommodate that many people."

The greatest benefit to Glendale may be the public exposure in front of a worldwide audience.

"There's a big, big marketing value there that people pay millions and millions of dollars for," Tuchman said.

"People tried to put a value to that; I think they estimated last time $13 million if you had to pay for that exposure," Weiers said. "Well that's pretty substantial, but how do you go back and verify that you actually got benefit from that?"

Questioning that, and other assurances made by the NFL, has left Weiers with what he calls a lukewarm relationship with the league.

"I need them a lot worse than they need me, but my first and foremost responsibility is to my citizens," he said.

But for the mayor, it's worth the worry to the have one of the world's most popular games touch down in his town.

"Overall, with the conditions we talked about," Weiers said, "absolutely."