The first local Super Bowl is still 702 days away, but the National Football League is paying close attention to North Texas this week.
A pair of NFL executives arrived in town Wednesday morning to meet with the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee and regional leaders and also tour the Dallas Cowboys' new $1.1 billion stadium. They also intend to look at some venues that could host major events associated with the 2011 Super Bowl.
Super Bowl planners expect to visit North Texas about every six weeks to help plan the mega-event.
Frank Supovitz, the NFL's senior vice president of events, met with newspaper reporters Wednesday to talk about plans for Super Bowl XLV. Here are some highlights:
How is the economy affecting the Super Bowl?
We are still doing a large number of fan events. ... None of those things are being cut back. We recognize that we'll have a stadium full of people that have paid good money to be there and to enjoy the Super Bowl experience, and that's exactly what we intend to present to them. ... It's going to remain a world-class program.
That's not to say that we haven't cut costs, that we haven't become more efficient. ... We're not immune to the economy.
What are the challenges of working with a region that's hosting a Super Bowl for the first time?
I'm not concerned because we have a host committee that's been active for a long time, longer than most host committees. They recognize that there's a lot of wheels that need to be invented here. There's no degree of rolling out the old plan, dusting it off. ... In fact, I'm excited about it because it'll be very different. Our staff is energized because we also get to reinvent the wheel a little bit. ... We could be more creative also.
How are the dynamics between the NFL and a first-time host committee different?
I think it keeps us on our toes more because we know that we have to be as active as the host committee for a longer period of time. So we're really going to be much more engaged much more often with the host committee and the host committee staff to make sure we are doing the right things and to make sure that the right things are being done.
What do you think about Jerry Jones' goal to break the Super Bowl XLV attendance record?
That's an incredible opportunity for us. The demand for Super Bowl tickets has always outstripped the supply, and we expect that to be case here too. But clearly we'll be able to have more people at the stadium. There will be another series of events and programs both game day and before game day that'll also be able to accommodate more people than we've ever had before at a Super Bowl.
When we're done creating the schedule of events, you'll find that on aggregate more people will have been able to enjoy the Super Bowl on one level or another than ever before.
What's the status on announcements about major events, such as the NFL Experience?
It'll be a rolling decision. We'll confirm one event and one venue at a time. Frankly, I don't have a particular timeframe in mind. Some we're aware of and some we're still deciding.
How do you convince NFL owners to make North Texas a regular Super Bowl host?
The host cities are voted on by the owners of the NFL teams. I can only provide the one piece of advice, which is execute to the nth degree. ...We set ourselves up for success, and the host committee does that too. They put plans in place during the bidding process that our ownership felt would ensure that success.
Will the 2011 Pro Bowl be held in Arlington?
It's our anticipation that the Pro Bowl will always be played the week before the Super Bowl from this point forward, but not necessarily in the same city. ... We're going to see how it works [in the Miami area in 2010]. [A tourism board in Hawaii is considering a proposal to bring the game back to Aloha Stadium in 2011.]
How do you justify the tax incentives and services being given by local governments?
The Super Bowl is a whole lot more than one day's worth of game. There's a lot of events that are going on all over the market. While we don't commission economic impact studies, the host committees do. ...We generate economic impact with the Super Bowl - their numbers, not mine - somewhere between $350 million and $500 million.