By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
On the (Icy) Ground at Super Bowl XLV
Over the past week, anyone watching TV or surfing the Internet has been consumed by images of widespread protests and unrest in Egypt, and by the equally widespread blizzard here at home. For the first time in a long time, the Super Bowl is (almost) taking a backseat to more meaningful global events. But for diehard Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers fans and the rest of us hardy souls braving the frigid conditions in North Texas, there are an abundance of solid Super Bowl storylines to follow. Here’s a look at what’s going on in and around Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Economic Impact on the North Texas Region
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the economic impact from Super Bowl XLV is no exception to the rule. According to a report commissioned by the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee, the big game will generate $611 million in economic impact for the region. The game is projected to bring almost 150,000 visitors from outside the state, with only 9% of tickets going to Dallas-area residents. The NFL alone booked 24,000 hotel rooms, with 130 corporate sponsors and advertisers expected to wine and dine their top clients. Seven hundred private jets will fly into regional airports.
According to Super Bowl Host Committee head Bill Lively, the North Texas region is the biggest ever to host a Super Bowl, stretching over 13 cities and four counties. On top of their $40 million operating budget, the host committee has lassoed 10,150 volunteers.
The NFL has reportedly issued in the neighborhood of 5,500 media credentials, the most ever. In nearby Fort Worth, ESPN is headquartered in Sundance Square; its sprawling set there will be the mainstay for more than 80 hours of programming planned. Over 150 radio stations from across the globe will be set up on “Radio Row” at media headquarters in downtown Dallas, and the BBC is even planning a two-hour documentary on all the regional goings-on, to help Britain better prepare to host the Summer Olympics next year.
While the Super Bowl will be a big boost to local businesses, some economists debate the legitimacy of economic impact studies. Figures from last year’s Super Bowl - Pro Bowl combination in Miami ranged from $150-$500 million. Regardless, with Dallas being less of a February vacation destination than Miami, the year-over-year increase in tourism dollars is welcome.
“I believe that Super Bowl XLV will be a new standard against which all others are judged,” says NFL Senior Vice President of Events Frank Supovitz.
The Venue: Cowboys Stadium
Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium no longer is the newest or most expensive stadium in the NFL. Both distinctions go to the New Meadowlands Stadium. And at a capacity of 80,000, Cowboys Stadium is far from the biggest stadium in the NFL – FedEx Field in Washington, D.C. has 11,000 more seats. Nonetheless, what the stadium “lacks” in price tag and size, it makes up in prestige. With its cutting-edge design and famous 72’ center hung video board, Cowboys Stadium has solidified its status as the preeminent facility in American sports, and a peerless host of America’s premier sporting event.
Cowboys Stadium was designed and built to host one the largest celebrations in the world: Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV. The three million-square-foot sports and entertainment venue in Arlington – designed by HKS Sports & Entertainment Group – is the largest NFL venue ever built and boasts the most spectacular column-free room in the world.
The stadium has already proven to be a significant economic force for North Texas as the host for concerts, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, World Championship Boxing, soccer’s Gold Cup, the NBA All-Star Game, and more. As the venue prepares to host Super Bowl XLV, it has already shown that the home of the Dallas Cowboys is an attraction for the world to experience.
“The open plazas, end zone decks and operable walls provide flexibility for the Super Bowl,” said Bryan Trubey, principal designer, HKS. “The entire venue and site are designed to host destination events of all types for North Texas and the world. To host Super Bowl fans, temporary fixed seating will be added throughout the seating bowl including the end zone platforms and open concourses.”
For the Super Bowl, seating will be provided at six end zones platforms. With stunning views to the playing field as well as the exterior plazas, the platforms offer one of the most distinctive and valuable viewing elevations in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys’ popular standing room only admissions policy for fans will be extended to Super Bowl XLV as well (although the $1,500 tickets are considerably more than the $25 price for regular season games), and an additional standing room only tickets will be sold for a temporary outdoor plaza adjacent to the stadium’s east Game Day Fan Plaza. There, for $300, Dallas Cowboys season ticket holders and other fortunate fans will be able to soak up the atmosphere and watch the game on outdoor video screens, all about a football field’s length away from the actual contest.
If that’s still too steep for you, the Cowboys and the NFL are also conducting stadium Super Bowl tours that give even more fans a taste of the whole Super Bowl experience. Tour tickets are $35-$40 per person; tours will run through February 10.
Parking’s always a premium around the Big Game but Super Bowl XLV may well be setting records in that area as well. For a mere $990, you can park directly across the street from the stadium – at a Jack in the Box restaurant. And we just have to ask – do you get fries with that?