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Friday, January 26, 2007

Robert Dale Morgan - The North Texas Super Bowl Bid Committee Lands His Help

D-FW grabs for Super Bowl
New 'Boys stadium in good position to land 2011 game; vote due in May
Dallas Business Journal - January 12, 2007
by Dave Moore

If landing an NFL Super Bowl is all about getting a head start, North Texas has a good shot at nabbing the big game for 2011.

Besides having the most-expensive football stadium in the National Football League to bid with, North Texas has landed Robert Dale Morgan, who was part of successful Super Bowl bids for Atlanta in 2000 and Houston in 2004.

The North Texas Super Bowl bid committee also has acquired the pro-bono services of Denis Braham, a Texas attorney who helped draft laws for the Texas Legislature that aided Houston in its bid for the 2004 Super Bowl.

What's more, North Texas appears to be the only community that is loudly and blatantly proclaiming that it will fight to land Super Bowl XLV.

While the city of Indianapolis has said it's likely to enter a bid, and Arizona says it also will pursue the bowl game, neither has launched an official effort to bring the bowl game home. Rumblings are that New Orleans might submit a bid, but so far, those rumors are unconfirmed.

"You'll have the most phenomenal stadium in football history, and they've got to give you the game," said Jordy Tollett, a consultant with the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, referring to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington.

Tollett was president and CEO of the Houston bureau when it made its bid for the 2004 Super Bowl. Tollett worked with Morgan and others to land the Super Bowl for the Houston region.

Morgan, a 23-year veteran of sports marketing and event management, was president and chief executive officer of the 2004 Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. Morgan, who couldn't be reached, also was president of the 2000 Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and vice president of championship management for the PGA Tour, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Tollett said the $1 billion Cowboys stadium -- which cost Arlington taxpayers $325 million -- is a crucial ingredient in North Texas' proposal. Reliant Stadium in Houston played that role for that region's application, he said.

"I think if taxpayers make that kind of commitment to the NFL, that they will honor you by giving you ... a Super Bowl," Tollett said. "It's great for the community."

Estimates are that Super Bowls draw 120,000 people and about $300 million in economic impact, while costing about $20 million for pre- and post-game parties. Braham and others involved in the North Texas bid say communities throughout the region will need to work together to feed, house and entertain those crowds, and to assemble an application that will be approved by NFL football team owners.

The owners will vote for a site for the 2011 Super Bowl in May, after applications from communities are submitted on April 2.

Other rivals?

It might be argued that Indianapolis, whose citizens covered $575 million of the Lucas Oil Stadium's $675 million cost, also has a good shot at the event.

Deputy Indianapolis Mayor Steve Campbell would be glad to argue that case, though Indianapolis officials will only say that the city is leaning toward entering the 2011 Super Bowl derby.

"We feel confident that we have the apparatus that can get it done," Campbell said. "It's a culmination of what we've been doing for 30 years." He said while the Super Bowl might be higher profile, events that Indy has hosted -- including the Indianapolis 500 -- draw greater crowds.

Campbell acknowledged that the groundbreaking of Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis was a lynchpin in the consideration for pursuing a Super Bowl there.

Arizona, too, is counting on its newly constructed, $455 million University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to draw a Super Bowl in 2011; it's already won the right to host the game in 2008. Hopes are to draw a Super Bowl to the stadium every five years, according to documents from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which owns the stadium.

The belief that newer stadiums have a better chance of attracting Super Bowls appears to have some foundation. Between 1992 and 2010, only five Super Bowls will have been held in stadiums more than a decade old, according to a Business Journal review of NFL records. And since '92, only two Super Bowls have been held north of the Mason-Dixon Line: one in Detroit and one in Minneapolis.

Tollett said it's no secret that the owners of professional teams like to vote for Super Bowls in warm destinations.

"I think they're going to occasionally go north, but I think they'll stay in a warmer climate," he said. "It's held in January or February and ... businesses want to head south for hosting purposes. I think it makes sense that they stay in a warmer destination."

Few would discount Arizona's climate.

"Just as in 2008, we have the infrastructure, the hotels and we have an unbelievably great stadium," said Debbie Wardrop, CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. "We have great weather and a great West Coast destination."

Indianapolis, meanwhile, brags of having 200 restaurants within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Braham said a consortium of North Texas cities will collectively offer Super Bowl crowds a splendid time. And a regional Super Bowl application is the key to success, he added.

"You're going to have the international and national press there, focused on where the ... Super Bowl is being held," said Braham, who was recently named CEO of Winstead, Sechrest and Minick PC.

"The community coming together to show their hospitality to the fans, to the league, to the owners, teams, etc., is critical," he said. "The more they can show themselves as coming together as one, the more impressive the presentation will be."

New Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Location: Arlington
Seating capacity: 80,000, expandable to up to 100,000 for special events
Cost: $1 billion (estimated)
Completion date: 2009
Designer/ architect: HKS, Dallas
Replaces: Texas Stadium

Special features: A 60-yard-wide, center-hung video screen will allow crowds to see action up close; an 86-foot-high glass wall built into the facility will glow during evening games.


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