Cities as far away as Frisco commit money to 2011 Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium

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by By THEODORE KIM and JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News

wfaa.com

Posted on September 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 17 at 10:51 AM

Tourism officials banking on the 2011 Super Bowl to fill hotel rooms across North Texas have committed more than $2 million in public and other monies to the effort.

About $1.5 million of that amount comes from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, a founding event sponsor.

But participants also include communities as far-flung as Denton and Frisco, which are each more than 40 miles from the new Cowboys Stadium, where the game will be played.

Eleven tourism boards in four North Texas counties are contributing money to the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, said Tara Green, a top organizer for the group.

Plano recently approved $38,200. Denton pledged $15,180, and Frisco $9,170.

Those and other cities are tapping revenues from hotel/motel tax collections. The payments were determined by a formula that took into account proximity to the game and other factors.

Organizers say the pledges are a small price for an event that, by some estimates, could generate as much as $500 million in economic activity.

Moreover, the contributions represent but a fraction of the overall hosting costs. Expenses are slated to total $30 million, with more than half coming from private sources.

"People all over the entire world will see the North Texas Super Bowl," said Kim Phillips, vice president of the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau. "That is an intangible."

Still, most city halls are pinching pennies these days. Some communities, including Carrollton, Flower Mound and Richardson, did not contribute money but are expected to reap benefits.

And the game's true economic impact on North Texas remains ambiguous, especially for communities like Frisco and Denton that are giving money and hoping to host game-related events despite their distance.

Plano, for instance, expects to generate $84,000 alone from its hotel/motel tax. But that figure assumes that the city sells 1,500 rooms for at least four consecutive nights.

It also assumes an average room rate of $200 a night - double what many Plano hotels regularly charge.

Estimates aside, most observers agree that the game's broad economic influence is likely to be significant.

In recent years, the Super Bowl has taken on an Olympics feel, as events and parties over several days lead up to the big game. And the impact is widespread.

When New Orleans has hosted the game in the past, hotel rooms have sold out in Baton Rouge some 80 miles away, said Phillip Jones, former Louisiana tourism secretary.

"The whole area is going to benefit tremendously," said Jones, who is now president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The National Football League has already sized up North Texas for possible hotel and event space, telling cities like Plano and Frisco to expect to house league visitors, such as media or sponsors.

David DuBois, president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city welcomed the chance to put money to the cause.

The bureau plans to pay the host committee nearly $170,000. In turn, officials hope the game could create as much as $10 million in economic activity in Fort Worth.

Rooms reserved by the NFL could bring in about $250,000 in hotel and motel taxes alone. That does not include other hotel reservations or receipts spawned from dining, entertainment and shopping.

"It's not a donation," DuBois said. "Trust me: It's an investment."

tkim@dallasnews.com;

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