As my roommate and I sat on our broken futon streaming the Super Bowl on her laptop, I reflected on the couple days leading up to the big game. I’d spent most of week holed up in my apartment, trying to avoid the out-of-towners and beer-guzzling Eagles fans. My friends and I contemplated venturing out, but ultimately decided against it in fear of the overcrowded streets and belligerent football enthusiasts.
Darren Rovell, an ESPN reporter, tweeted on Friday that this would be “the last Super Bowl for Minnesota,” and I have to say, I’m not mad. According to Rovell, the frigid Minnesota weather prevented big corporate brands from sponsoring. However, that sentiment is debatable. The city was so papered with sponsored events for everything from Sleep Number’s virtual reality to the Bold North Zip Line that it was almost hard to avoid. Regardless, I won’t be sad if this was the last time Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl.
Minneapolis natives were largely disregarded as we prepped for tourists and big-spenders. The disruptions affected almost everyone. Students who use public transit to commute to campus had to make other arrangements, and many of the homeless citizens were left out in the cold. Literally.
Those homeless, who could normally use skyways and bus stations to warm up, had been asked to leave by the surplus of security. While there was an increase in some efforts to provide shelter for the homeless, this was not enough. With only ticket-holders being able to use the light rail on Sunday and many other parts of the city being closed to the public, this surpassed what many can cope with. What’s the point in “cleaning up” our city for a few days to impress some flush sight-seers, if it marginalizes those who actually live here?
The city opted to close the streets surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium before the Super Bowl took place. Because apparently the Earth stops spinning when men in tights start knocking into one another on a field. The closed off area spread to an eight by four block radius in the week leading up to the game, which may not seem like a big deal until you’re trying to reach the Hennepin County Medical Center emergency room, or God forbid, you work downtown.
Once we surrendered our city to the NFL and those rich enough to afford tickets to the game, the NFL only had a few more things to ask of its gracious hosts. They announced nearly a year before the Super Bowl that they would be accepting applications for up to 10,000 unpaid volunteers to help “welcome" the well-to-do visitors. Of course, after funding the construction of the U.S. Bank Stadium with almost $500 million in taxpayer dollars, what I feel I need to do is donate free labor to a multi-billion dollar corporation.
This is only the second time that Minneapolis has hosted the Super Bowl, and all I can say is, at least I wasn’t here the first time around. If Minnesota is offered the chance to host the Super Bowl again, I hope they opt out. The supposed economic gains are not worth the complete and utter disregard of its citizens.