Editor's Note (The View From Here)

$5M for 30 seconds — $0 for education

There are times when I am baffled by our priorities — or lack thereof! How is it that we are all interested in the Super Bowl and willing to spend billions, yet when it comes to our schools and colleges, we don’t have money to meet their needs?

Case in point… In one afternoon, billions were spent on the advertisements we saw during Super Bowl 50. Companies invested an average of $5 million for a 30-second ad — $166,666 per second. That did not include the price of creating the ad, the publicity around the ad or the campaign. One source estimated that a full campaign would cost more than $30 million. Doing a quick count, more than 50 companies ran Super Bowl ads, bringing the total spend to well over $1.5 billion.

For the 70,000-plus who attended the game, the story was not much different. While the lucky ones received a free pass, a few fans were even able to get a ticket at face value. Most tickets were only available via resale with an average ticket price upwards of $5,000.” Add to that the cost of round trip airfare, and we are talking another $900. Then there is the hotel. A 3-star in San Francisco ran between $125-$900 a night. The average Airbnb listing in Santa Clara for Feb. 6 to 8 was $612 a night, with some listings as high as $10,000 for the weekend. And don’t forget the food, parking, souvenirs and total NFL experience. Fans were likely to spend $8,000-plus on the experience bringing that total spend to over $550 million only counting those who attended the game.

So how does this compare? In the 2014-15 school year, the current expenditure per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools was $10,851. I wouldn’t even dare compare the salary of a player or manager to that of a teacher or administrator, or the cost of providing adequate security for game day to the monies spent on school security for the entire school year.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and in the 70’s lived and breathed football in the days of Bradshaw and the “Steel Curtain.” Like most everyone else, I love football and would be excited to attend the big game. What I don’t like are the messages I keep hearing that say we don’t have the money to adequately support education, or that we are once again going to have to raise tuition to make ends meet. If billions can be spent in one day on a sporting event, don’t you think we should be able to find support for education?

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

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