The newly-opened Cowboy stadium scored a touchdown when it got the nod from the National Football League to host Super Bowl XLV, the first sporting event of its kind in the history of North Texas.
Now, with the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee at the helm, the whole region is gearing up for an onslaught of upwards of 200,000 out-of-state fans, says Tara Green, vice president and chief operating officer of the NTSB XLV Host Committee, made up of 275 area leaders, 114 mayors and 12 host cities.
“We’re anticipating between 150,000 to 200,000 people coming in for this event,” Green said. “They will stay at our hotels, dine at our restaurants and attend many events. So the region as a whole will be impacted.”
Addison is not only one of 12 host cities that may benefit from the event, but it spearheaded efforts to persuade the NFL to accept the bid and to bring the epic game to North Texas in February 2011.
“From the very beginning, Addison was very supportive in bringing the Super Bowl to the region,” Green said. “One of Addison’s great draws is the number of restaurants and entertainment venues. So they’ll get a good ripple effect from the Super Bowl event.”
The economic impact of the Super Bowl will be felt by 6 million people in all host cities in a four-county area, including Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant. Organizers agree that the magnitude of the event, which has already enlisted the services of more than 7,000 volunteers, is mindboggling.
“We hope to recruit, train and schedule 10,000 volunteers by game day. We already have 7,500 who have registered,” Green said, adding that being a volunteer does not mean access to tickets or admission into the Super Bowl.
Even more spectacular than the number of volunteers is the possibility that the event may pour more than $600 million dollars into the North Texas economy, including the Town of Addison and the North Dallas Corridor.
“We are very excited about the potential impact of Super Bowl 45 on our city, and we think this is going to be the biggest Super Bowl ever,” said Addison Mayor Joe Chow, a member of the NTSB XLV Host Committee Council of Mayors.
Addison officials have operated media booths at two past Super Bowl events as a way of marketing Addison and laying the groundwork for the upcoming Super Bowl in February.
“If you’ve never been to this event, it is like no other sporting event. The energy of it takes over everything. The whole Super Bowl is really a week-long process that’s very captivating,” said Diana George, the Town of Addison sales manager and the city’s liaison.
Mayor Chow, owner of May Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Addison, said the Town’s new slogan was very much influenced by the Corridor’s tendency and desire to draw in those who are visiting the area for special events – the Super Bowl certainly being one.
“Addison is the kind of a city that always embraces this kind of event. That’s why we even came up with a slogan that says ‘We Are Glad You Are Here’ which is on all promotional material,” said Chow, who was elected in May 2005.
Addison’s Director of Special Events, Barbara Kovacevich, spoke in general terms about the city’s preparation and participation in two special NFL projects.
“We’re one of 12 host cities participating, and we were instrumental in bringing the Super Bowl here,” she said. “So we will support the event through our participation in various programs.”
Kovacevich said that with more than 170 restaurants, Addison has one of the largest concentrations of eateries in the country, and organizers estimate the need for 20,000 hotel rooms area-wide. Consequently, the city could see a massive influx of guests.
“What we want is for people to eat at our restaurants, visit our theaters and really get to know Addison. And with over 170 restaurants in and around Belt Line Road, we’re promoting this as the biggest game-watching party in North Texas,” Kovacevich said.
She adds that Addison hotels expect to book 7,500 hotel rooms. To accommodate Corridor residents and visitors, many restaurants, cafes and bars will hold their own watch parties, happy hours and festivities.
“We are estimating at this point, taking into account hotels, restaurants and direct spending, that the overall impact could be as much as $1.7 million dollars,” Kovacevich said.
SUPER BOWL EVENTS
According to officials with the Host Committee, at least 60 events will take place in and around North Texas prior to the Super Bowl kickoff the first Sunday in February.
Some of the events are NFL-sponsored projects aimed at thousands of schoolchildren from the host communities.
For example, Service Learning Adventures North Texas 45 (SLANT45) is a service-learning educational program and a joint initiative formed by the Host Committee and Big Thought, a Dallas nonprofit specializing in creative learning. Addison will participate in SLANT 45 through the Super Grow XLV program.
The Texas Trees Foundation, in partnership with the NFL Environmental Program created the Super Grow XLV program for SLANT 45 in hopes of teaching elementary school-aged children about the importance of preserving the environment.
The Super Grow XLV program members will plant 6,500 trees in local cities before game day. Thousands of schoolchildren will participate in tree planting project coordinated by the host cities.
Designated schools in each city will receive 500 seedlings. Addison’s Greenhill School, a private school with grades Pre-K-12 and more than 1,200 pupils, will receive Texas native or adaptable seedlings.
“We’ve had a relationship with Greenhill for a long time. So they’ll get the seedlings the kids can take and plant wherever they want,” said Neil Hewitt, president of Addison Arbor Foundation, a local nonprofit instrumental in obtaining the seedlings.
The goal of both programs is not just to help publicize the Super Bowl, but to diminish the event’s environmental impact. Addison is participating in the Super Grow XLV Tree Planting event with the help and cooperation of the city’s parks and recreation department and several nonprofits.
“Each town gets 45 trees to plant at a tree planting ceremony. The trees are 10-gallon canopy or ornamental Texas trees. Each participating city had to provide a $3,000 direct or in-kind match. Some of the funds came from the Addison Arbor Foundation or in-kind services,” said Addison Parks and Recreation Director, Slade Strickland.
Locally, the Addison Arbor Foundation is coordinating the effort to ensure trees are planted properly and maintained thereafter. Founded in 1995, the mission of the AAF is to raise money for public landscape beautification projects.
“We will have volunteers to help us in the tree-planting at Les Lacs Linear Park. We think it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. It’s a family event, where kids can learn about how to plant a tree, and things to do and not do,” Hewitt said.
Another event Addison is gearing up for is an NFL Charities Super “Bowl” event. The bowling tournament will pit an amateur team against current and former NFL players and members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The bowling event is set for Feb. 3 at 300 Dallas in Addison.
Bowlers will receive a gift bag of official NFL apparel and a commemorative Super Bowl bowling ball and pin bearing the Super Bowl logo. The entry fee, not yet determined, is a tax-deductible donation to NFL Charities.
Another positive ripple effect from the deluge of visitors, and one that affects the four-county area, is general aviation airports such as the Addison Airport.
“We want to be sure we provide the best possible service, recognizing that their Super Bowl experience will begin and end at the airport,” said Darci Neuzil, Addison Airport deputy director.
Neuzil said that, thanks to the Aviation Action Team, which interacts with the special Transportation Team in charge of getting guests to and from hotels to venues, the facility is prepared to accommodate the needs of all its Super Bowl visitors.
“We were actually part of the Aviation Action Team that was formed nearly two years ago. We’ve been working with them on things like airspace management, safety and VIP provisions to ensure that people who attend the Super Bowl will have a positive experience,” she said.
A study based on the experiences of other host cities concluded that about 100,000 people will arrive by air, and that about 4,000 of those will use charter and private jet facilities at general aviation airports like Addison Airport, said Neuzil, a 10-year employee of the airport.
The Aviation Action and Transportation Teams were formed by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee early on with the intention of inspiring cities to cooperate with general aviation airports.
Addison’s hotel and hospitality industry is also benefitting from the spectacular sporting event. As required by the NFL before the bidding process began, a block of hotel rooms is required in advance of the event for NFL Fan Experience corporate clients.
According to the NFL website, nflonlocation.com, several of Dallas’ major luxury hotel rooms are designated NFL Fan Experience Blocks. The NFL Fan Experience offers only packages – with prices ranging in the thousands – to Super Bowl ticket seekers. Some packages include hotel accommodations and perks. It’s expected that Addison’s luxury hotels will book more and more guests as the push-out from the stadium heads northeast to the Corridor.
Some hoteliers are preparing for what they hope will be a flood of visitors in the Corridor.
“We have reserved a certain number of rooms for the NFL; these are referred to as NFL blocks. Everything goes through the NFL, so it may have reserved the rooms for staff, players and the media,” said Erlin Evangelista Mona, director of sales and revenue management for the Crowne Plaza Suites Dallas-Park Central, near the Galleria.
“Everyone says ‘you’re going to be full’ but because none of us has experienced a Super Bowl before, we don’t know what to expect,” she said. “We don’t think there will be a frenzy of activity until December or January. That’s when we’ll see a lot more action.”
Moya said she’s optimistic that even those who cannot attend the Super Bowl may check into an Addison hotel to be part of the exciting atmosphere that is sure to envelope the city.
“A lot of times, people will just come in, and hopefully we get a lot of them,” she said. “Some people will never get into the arena, like the individual traveler. Regardless, we are ready for them, and we’re very excited about it.”
Mark Brooks, general manager of the Marriott Quorum, said the hotel is in high spirits knowing that more than 1,000 fans will depend on his hotel personnel to facilitate their stay by reserving fine dining, shopping and entertainment.
“We’re expecting over 1,000 guests that we will entertain and take care of during the week. And taking care of our guests is really where our focus will be,” said Brooks, who already has several NFL Fan Experience blocks reserved.
“Part of it is firing up our own staff, because you’re expecting Dallas on steroids. After all, this is more than a standard day and more than a standard check in. So we’re excited about the Super Bowl coming here; it’s a big event,” said Brooks, adding that, in addition to reserved blocks, his hotel will accommodate those who are not groups as well.
Scott Blakely, manager of the InterContinental Hotel in Addison, is looking forward to the excitement of Super Bowl weekend as well.
“This is a huge event for Addison, so it’s really going to be a fun week,” he said. “An event like this creates a lot of excitement, and I think we’re really going to see a lot of that.”
Blakely says he thinks the NFL has been very smart in their organizing of this event, and mentions that they have reserved their own group of rooms, and have even assigned some of the hotels to the teams they will be getting. Even though only two teams will be able to face off in the big game, many choose to travel together to watch.
“We’re getting the Washington Red Skins,” Blakely said. Considering the fact that they are the arch rivals of the Dallas Cowboys, Blakely added, “It’s a bittersweet feeling.”
Blakely is a seasoned hotel manager, having worked at The Palms and other opulent hotels in Las Vegas before relocating to the North Dallas Corridor.
“I used to be at The Palms in Las Vegas, where it’s like the Super Bowl every day. But this is really a big deal for us here in Addison. Apart from the rooms already reserved, there are obviously a lot of ancillary opportunities,” Blakely said.
“I think right now some people are over-anxious,” he said. “I was here for the NBA (All-Star Game) and saw how well that did, and this event is bigger. We’re not full right now, but I think we will be, and I think Addison gets that.”
WHERE TO WATCH
Another group feeling the high-energy vibes of the Super Bowl is the restaurant industry. Some have planned special menus, happy hours and watch parties on game day.
“We’re looking at one of the busiest weeks of the year. That’s why we’ve bumped up inventories and why we’re bringing in more servers,” said Jerimy Sanford, general manager of Champps Americana.
Champps is offering a “Super Feast Sellout” buffet on Super Bowl Sunday at both the Dallas and Addison locations. They will also be letting their patrons choose their seats so they can pick the best spot to watch the game.
Allison Rothermel, manager of Jaxx Steakhouse, said she’s kicked around a few ideas, such as having patrons dress in their favorite team colors in order to avail themselves of a hefty discount on their meal on Super Bowl weekend only.
“Basically, what we’re doing is, if you wear your NFL gear of your favorite team, you’ll get 20 percent off of the food portion only, and only on Super Bowl weekend – Friday and Saturday,” said Rothermel.
Meanwhile, Chamberlain’s Steakhouse & Chop House, with its popular Cigar Lounge, may be the go-to place to get pumped up and ready for Super Bowl week activities.
“We have two restaurants, Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill and Chamberlain Steakhouse. Smoking is not allowed at Chamberlain’s Fish Market, but the steakhouse has a Cigar Lounge, so that will probably be where we’d do something,” said Tiana Hampton, the restaurant’s events coordinator.
“The Cigar Lounge has a large, beautiful room, kind of like a man cave. It’s pretty neat and there’s a definite draw there,” said Hampton, who said an impending meeting with the Dallas Convention & Visitor’s Bureau would help cement their plans for the sporting event.
Sports bars will likely see among the largest influx of patrons who are looking for a place to watch the big game with other dedicated fans Super Bowl weekend. Dutch Ehrenfred, general manager of Humperdink’s in Addison, is expecting large crowds and is confident that his venue will meet expectations.
“Sporting events such as the Super Bowl are our forte,” he said. “We expect a huge crowd for the Super Bowl and can literally accommodate hundreds of people at any time.”
The entire North Texas region and its surrounding communities are all waiting with great anticipation for the upcoming Super Bowl. The Corridor, and those leading it, are doing their best to get the most out of this rare opportunity.
“We’re marketing ourselves as the largest North Texas watch party in a 2-mile loop before, during and after the big game,” George said.
-By Rosie Carbo