FORT WORTH — While Fort Worth's Sundance Square is 14 miles from Cowboys Stadium, it has just become a focal point for coverage of Super Bowl XLV.
ESPN says the downtown entertainment district will be the home base for its coverage of the NFL championship game.
Executives with the worldwide leader in sports said they saw the people, the restaurants, the bars and that Texas flair, and they knew Sundance Square was where they wanted to be for events leading up to the big game on February 6.
"Fort Worth and Sundance Square will host ESPN throughout the entire week of Super Bowl XLV," Mayor Mike Moncrief announced to applause on Wednesday.
Cheering fans are priority one for the cable sports giant. ESPN will bring radio shows, TV hosts and production crews to the center of Fort Worth for live broadcasts throughout Super Bowl week.
Network executives said they toured the Metroplex before they chose Sundance Square. "It just came down to what fit our needs better in terms of space, in terms of crowds, in terms of atmosphere," explained ESPN senior producer Stephanie Druley.
ESPN is already part of the Cowtown atmosphere. Its networks dominate the screens at Billy Miners. With a loyal TV following, restaurants are counting on sports fans opening their wallets when they see ESPN live and in person.
"It can bring a lot of folks here. Therefore, all our businesses and periphery area should do very well," said Devoyd Jennings, president of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.
Dallas said it lost out because it couldn't provide a single location to fit the three stages, production trucks and offices ESPN required.
Fort Worth had the space right in front of the Chisholm Trail Mural, and it brought in local sports stars to sell the Texas charm.
"The lifestyle and the atmosphere over here is more to my liking than Dallas," said former Dallas Cowboys great Walt Garrison.
Fort Worth says all of North Texas will shine during 80 hours of ESPN live coverage, but Fort Worth will likely win some new fans on a wold stage.
"I don't think Fort Worth will ever be the same from this day on," Mayor Moncrief said.
Dallas says it will still shine during Super Bowl week. David Corrigan, president of the Dallas Chamber, told News 8 that several other media outlets will be touring the region in the next few weeks, and they expect to make a few big announcements of their own.