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Friday, March 30, 2007

Dallas City Council To Vote On North Texas Super Bowl XLV Bidding Committee's Plan March 27th

Dallas City Council wants city stressed in Super Bowl bid
Members want NFL to pick city facilities for nongame events

06:46 AM CDT on Thursday, March 22, 2007

By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News

It's all but certain the Dallas City Council will vote next week to support – financially and otherwise – the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Bidding Committee's effort to bring football's grandest game to Arlington in 2011.

Council members on Wednesday nonetheless pressured bid committee members to ask the NFL to funnel the cream of its ancillary benefits inside Dallas' city limits, be they headquarters hotels, promotional events or massive pregame parties.

"It'd be helpful if you could please us and please the effort at the same time. Make it clear that we want the events here," Dallas Mayor Laura Miller told bid committee members. "We'd like the main events in Dallas because we are the lead city. We don't want to jeopardize [the bid], but we want to make a point."

Said council member Steve Salazar: "We're the 800-pound gorilla. Without us, there is no bid."

Phillip Jones, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, who is working closely with the bid committee, said he understands council members' concerns and remains confident that the group will support the efforts of the bid committee, led by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

The bid committee must submit its proposal to the NFL by April 2. NFL owners are scheduled to award Super Bowl XLV to one bidder – Indianapolis and Arizona are also competing for the game – at their spring meeting May 23 in Nashville, Tenn.

Council member Maxine Thornton-Reese also asked for guarantees that the NFL, in hiring local contractors, would abide by the city's guidelines for women and minority business participation. Officials assured her that would be so.

And several council members expressed concerns that the bid committee preliminarily listed Grapevine's Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center along with three Dallas hotels the committee would recommend to the NFL for its Super Bowl headquarters.

Council member Ron Natinsky in particular suggested Dallas might withhold funding support for the Super Bowl effort – the city has tentatively promised about four-fifths of the financial support for the event – if the NFL scheduled major events outside Dallas' city limits.

"The question is: If the NFL picks the Gaylord or decides to put up a big tent and not use our convention center, what do we do as the city of Dallas with our 70, 80 percent participation?"

Mr. Jones noted that four area hotels fit NFL criteria for its four major operational bases, which include the Super Bowl headquarters, commissioner's headquarters, media facilities and team facilities.

"We need the Gaylord property to make the bid successful," Mr. Jones said, adding that the bid committee would craft language in its proposal to the NFL that reflected Dallas' desire to host most major events and Super Bowl facilities.

The game would be played in Arlington's $1 billion retractable-roof stadium, which is slated to become the Cowboys' home in 2009.

Although financial details aren't complete, bid committee representatives said, a leading funding model involves Dallas funneling incremental sales tax revenue – funds generated above and beyond sales tax estimates without the Super Bowl in town – to a trust fund managed by the state comptroller's office.

The trust fund, in turn, would distribute money to a Super Bowl host committee charged with coordinating the event. The state would account for 80 percent of the trust fund's funding, bid committee officials said. Dallas would be expected to provide 16 percent to 18 percent of the trust fund's balance, with other area municipalities contributing the rest, City Manager Mary Suhm said. Officials did not immediately quote an estimate of how much the trust fund would be worth.

Asked by council member Gary Griffith whether the event puts taxpayer interests at risk, Convention and Event Services Department Director Frank Poe replied the city's "costs would be covered."


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