Thursday, October 22, 2009
North Texas Super Bowl Committee CEO Bill Lively speaks about 2011 Super Bowl in
A Super Bowl concert series kicks off March 6 with country singer Faith Hill at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.
The Super Bowl will kickoff at Cowboys Stadium in just over 15 months. What used to be just a football game has become America’s premier annual event. When the Super Bowl and the NFL comes to town, so too do thousands of tourists and their dollars. The North Texas Super Bowl Committee hopes that Super Bowl XLV will be bigger and better than any of the previous 44 and that Arlington will find a place in the Super Bowl rotation with cities like New Orleans, Miami, and Tampa.
Bill Lively is the president and CEO of the host committee, and is in charge of the groups’ day-to-day operations. Lively and a staff of 17 full-time employees office in Turtle Creek, and are opening an office in Fort Worth as well. Committee Chairman Roger Staubach asked him to join the committee while he was still serving as president and CEO of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.
After working for the Dallas Cowboys for 23 years (many of those as the team’s band director), Mr. Lively is excited about bringing the Super Bowl to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area for the first time. “I hope this game can be a unifying catalyst,” Lively says.
Serving the interests of an entire region -- spanning across a number of municipal and county jurisdictions -- has proven more challenging than catering to one city as he did with the Center of Performing Arts. It’s a challenge that Lively welcomes. “This stadium is at the 50 yard line of North Texas,” Lively says, “everyone has been trying really hard.”
Everything’s bigger in Texas
With this being North Texas, you would expect big hopes and dreams for the Super Bowl. I asked Mr. Lively what would be different about the North Texas Super Bowl compared with others. “Almost everything,” he said without hesitation. ” Our host committee is 10 times bigger, we’re having a year long countdown to the game, we plan to involve more volunteers, and then there’s the stadium,” he says.
North Texas has already surpassed financial benchmarks from previous Super Bowls. The man who D Magazine says has mastered the art of “the ask” has helped secure nine $1 million sponsors for the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee (even in a down economy). No other Super Bowl has had more than $2 million sponsors. Still, that number is short of the 15 one million dollar contributors that Livley and the committee has set as a goal.
Emerging Business program
I remember at the first Super Bowl Host Committee meeting, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had flown in from the NFL combines so that he could address the group at the kickoff in Arlington. Mr. Jones stood at the podium and talked about the business impact that the game would have all over North Texas, from Frisco to Garland. After his passionate presentation, I was ready to go out and sell programs in the parking lot. Fortunately there are more formal arrangements already in place.
The NFL has initiated the Emerging Business Program, which helps to ensure that minority and women owned businesses “have the maximum opportunity to participate in the Super Bowl procurement process.” The committee will host three Emerging Business Workshops open to local businesses who want to find out how they can make themselves Super Bowl ready. The first workshop (called The Game Plan) is scheduled for October 27 in Fort Worth at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
A lasting impact
As Lively, Staubach, and the rest of the committee looks towards 2011 there will be plenty to do in 2010. “One of our important tasks is to explain to the region how they can participate leading up to the Super Bowl.” The committee will call upon thousands of volunteers from throughout the region to help them make hundreds of events run smoothly between now and Super Bowl Sunday.
A Super Bowl concert series kicks off March 6 with country singer Faith Hill at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Sting will perform in a second concert at Winspear Opera House on May 22. But organizers are also excited about Slant 45, a joint project between the Host Committee and Big Thought, whose goal is to have some 20,000 North Texas school children log at least 45,000 combined service-learning hours.
The Host Committee website hosts a countdown the which says there are 471 days left before kickoff at Cowboys Stadium. “The game will happen whether we’re ready or not,” Lively says. By the looks of it, the football game on February 6, 2011 may be the first time in three years that Lively and the staff may actually be able to rest.
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