FORT WORTH Super Bowl XLV is two years away, but the party officially starts barely a year from now at Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall, organizers announced Thursday.
The North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee will sponsor what officials call an unprecedented 60 events in the year leading up to the February 2011 Super Bowl in Arlington. The first will be a concert in March 2010 at Bass Performance Hall by a superstar whose name is being kept secret.
Two more shows in the Super Bowl kick-off concert series will follow in Dallas and Arlington at venues now under construction.
"These will be the cornerstones of an enormous concert series," said Bill Lively, host committee president and CEO. "If you were to imagine the greatest entertainers, kind of like at a Super Bowl halftime show, those are the entertainers who are going to be here."
Following the Fort Worth performance will be a May show at the new Winspear Opera House in Dallas and then a concert in September at the new $1.1 billion Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington. Lively said that other smaller events will be scattered throughout that spring and summer.
The announcement was made Thursday at a host committee media luncheon at the Fort Worth Club, about six blocks from Bass Performance Hall. Committee officials also revealed that Fort Worth will be the official AFC champion city for the 2011 game, and Dallas would be the NFC champion city. Events targeted at fans of the conference champions would be centralized in each city when possible and also be reflected in the thousands of banners and signs that will hang in Dallas and Fort Worth.
It was previously announced that the AFC team would stay at the downtown Omni Fort Worth Hotel and practice at Texas Christian University. The NFC team will stay at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas and practice at the Cowboys' nearby Valley Ranch facility.
"The action starts here," said Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief. "We are very proud of Bass Hall, and certainly it is one of the crown jewels of Fort Worth."
He said this puts a little pressure on Fort Worth to be ready sooner, but "we're used to pressure."
Lively said the Fort Worth show has been booked, but he said he won't reveal the performer's name until possibly this summer. He said he has an idea of who will perform at the Dallas and Arlington events, but plans haven't been finalized.
At the luncheon, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and committee chairman Roger Staubach continued to stress that the committee wants to make the Super Bowl a regional event. They said that many of those 60 events will be spread across Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.
Moncrief was joined at the event by Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwayne Caraway, as well as former Cowboys players helping with host committee fundraising efforts.
The committee has eight founding sponsors who have each pledged $1 million, which is more than halfway to the goal of $15 million. Lively said the committee is receiving an additional $1 million grant, but he wasn't ready to release details about that yet. The committee's estimated budget is $20 million.
Lively said that tickets for all three concerts would be sold as part of a package this fall, much like season subscriptions available for other performance series. About 2,100 tickets would be available, which is the capacity of Bass Performance Hall, the smallest of the venues. The opera house, part of the $354 million Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, will be able to seat about 2,400, Lively said, and the Cowboys' stadium could accommodate tens of thousands.
Lively said he's confident that the committee will be able to book internationally known talent at all three shows.
"When you go under the banner of the Super Bowl, it's not hard," he said. "When we call an agent as a representative of the North Texas Host Committee, we get an ear right off the bat. It's been no problem at all."
Lively said he'll also have an inside track on the television broadcast team. Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who is also a host committee member, will be one of Fox's broadcasters for the game.
"You couldn't plan that any better," Lively said. "It's got to be an asset to him and we hope to us, as well."
Aikman said it'll be challenging to broadcast from his hometown.
"I won't be able to enjoy the Super Bowl here as much as what I otherwise would because I will still be working," Aikman said. "On the one hand, I'm excited about getting to call the first Super Bowl that's going to be held here in North Texas.
"On the other hand, I'm not going to be able to partake and enjoy in as many of the activities because of the preparations that are involved."