Even by BeyondChron’s standard level of frequent apologia for select members of the City’s elite, the post, “Super Bowl City promoted unity, not division or gentrification,” reaches new heights of rose-colored spin.

48hillssupcitylogoYou see, the week-long corporate extravaganza “Super Bowl City Presented by Verizon” at the foot of Market Street that featured exhibits/venues sponsored by Levi’s, Bud Light, CBS Sports, Chevron, CNN, Dignity Health, Hyundai, Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s, the NFL, SAP, San Francisco Travel, VISA, and the travel associations of Sonoma County and San Jose must have been “incredibly popular” because “the majority of San Franciscans … are not deeply offended by corporate America,” according to BeyondChron.

Perhaps … or perhaps not. There is no data source offered for that sweeping conclusion. I suspect San Franciscans’ perspectives about corporate America are a lot more complicated depending on the specific issue at hand.

For example, San Franciscans might feel more sympathetic toward the several dozen street artists/vendors normally located at Ferry Plaza who were booted out without any replacement venue, thereby losing over a week’s income. Or regret the total prohibition on any local mom-and-pop food trucks parking anywhere near Super Bowl City to share in the business created by its several hundred thousand visitors. But at least one food truck and four mom-and-props were allowed to join four high-end eateries inside the restricted zone so maybe that’s enough for BeyondChron.

Or San Franciscans might be more concerned about the widespread drop in sales last week reported by many businesses of all sizes in the northeast quadrant of the city due to local and Bay Area residents avoiding this area due to impossible traffic and the media hype about massive hoards of national visitors, which actually did not materialize until the Friday before the game. But at least all the hotels, big and small (and short-term renters?), made a ton of money by exorbitantly jacking up their rates sky-high. Hey, why not, that’s capitalism!

And then about dividing out the homeless … who were nowhere to be seen anywhere in the vicinity of Super Bowl City, in any capacity, or at any of the other Super Bowl events in Union Square (more Bud Light) and Yerba Buena Gardens (the NFL Experience by Hyundai) — well, that must not matter to San Franciscans at all.

But Music! Fireworks! And “… working and middle-class residents eager to see top recording artists whose regular concerts they might not be able to afford.” So BART had its busiest day ever on Saturday as hundreds of thousands flooded into the city from the East Bay (now functionally city neighborhoods too, thanks to gentrification) to see their shows.

Okay, I’m all for that (thought I might note those tickets cost so much due the demographics of gentrification and the corporate dominance of the nation’s entertainment industry – oops, there I go again!). So let’s have more city-sponsored free music and fireworks along the waterfront, but I don’t think it takes a Super Bowl corporate blowout to do that. We have a Park and Recreation Department, I think we could do that ourselves.

Ultimately, we are being anti-unity snobs, BeyondChron concludes, by dissing and looking down our collective noses at all of the above. We are “… those who enjoy San Francisco’s Sightglass coffee, microbreweries, and independent cafes serving avocado toast,” and who, “are eager to cast judgment on those who do not share their cultural values [and] fail to understand the broader vision of acceptance upon which San Francisco was built.”

Well, I will confess to much preferring local brews over Bud Light. But no, the ongoing corporate-driven homogenization and commercialization of America is NOT San Francisco’s “broader vision of acceptance.” Since America’s cultural revolution started here in the 1950s, it has always been about rejecting that corporate bullshit – now more sophisticated and pervasive than ever – and building a society that values people over corporate profits. We aren’t that blind to the ugly truths behind the Super Bowl party.

Throughout history the elite of empires, have used free bread and circuses to pacify their exploited populations. It’s so easy to fall for isn’t it? And we aren’t even getting the bread.


  • Karl Young

    Good piece; Randy Shaw’s position re. the SF power structure seems pretty confusing. E.g. while he publishes good pieces on the sleazy shenanigans of big junk food to insinuate itself into the public school system he seems to generally turn a blind eye to corporate influence at city hall. Oh well, I assume there was plenty of cake at the big brain damage soiree.

  • hiker_sf

    What nonsense. People of all economic levels hated what the NFL was allowed to do to San Francisco and hundreds of thousands of commuters each day.

    That Lee had a secret government that was allowed to do this with no contract, no oversight, no engagement of the BOS is a something that a dictator would do.

    This must never happen again.

  • Greg

    SB 50 was very popular here. The village area was packed al last week-end and on Sunday the streets were near deserted as everyone watch the game.

    People can quibble about some minor inconveniences but, frankly, I find the Bay to Breakers race more annoying.

    • Ragazzu

      “SB 50 was very popular here.”

      Just not with the people who live in SF. And Bay to Breakers ain’t three weeks long.

      • hiker_sf

        The moron is comparing SB50 with Bay to Breakers? LOL!

        • Greg

          I thought you were ignoring me?

          Anyway I was talking about my personal level of inconvenience. I was not inconvenienced by SB50 at all, but ma inconvenienced by B2B.

        • hiker_sf

          Attention Greg: I see that you’ve responded to my response to Ragazzu. As I’ve blocked your comments, I don’t see the content, only that you’ve responded. Have a good day!

    • Do you get paid by the post?

  • So why wasn’t “Super Bowl Ciry” set up at Great America, the already-existing amusement park that is literally right next door to the actual “home” of Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara? Why weren’t any pre-Super Bowl events held in the REAL “host city,” Santa Clara, CA? There’s certainly plenty of hotel space available – and parking! And “Super Bowl Ciry” would have been a lot more “family friendly” if it had been set up in an honest-to-God amusement park.