The Super Bowl will, as always, be a spectacle. Helicopters borrowed from the Border Patrol will circle overhead. Tens of millions will watch. The beautiful University of Phoenix stadium will be the center of it all.
But Detroit offers a warning: Things can get ugly after the spotlight moves on.
The Pontiac Silverdome (lacking a corporate name at the time) hosted Super Bowl XVI in 1982. It was the first Super Bowl held in a cold climate. But that hardly mattered, as the dome was state-of-the-art and provided a warm venue for the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers.
But nobody will be playing football inside the Silverdome again. It was sold for about half a million dollars in 2009, and today is roofless and crumbling. Like much of Detroit, it’s beyond repair and will eventually be knocked down.
The Silverdome isn’t alone.
Other formerly Super-sized venues that don’t exist anymore include the Orange Bowl in Miami, Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, and Tampa Stadium in Florida. Soon enough the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, less than 25 years old, will be replaced as well.
The lesson is that nothing lasts forever. Impose bad economic policies, as Detroit did for decades, and prosperity won’t last, even if your infrastructure seems solid.