Texans are no strangers to big talk and unrelenting pride, but sometime facts are just facts. Not long after the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints teed up the pigskin for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, for example, the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee had already secured 12 $1 million founding sponsorships and a total of $21 million in sponsorships, grants, and contracted revenue.
That, by the way, would be 10 more $1 million sponsorships than any other host committee has ever secured. And that’s with another full calendar year remaining before the NFL’s biggest stage shifts to Arlington’s outsized Cowboys Stadium.
It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true, y’all.
“We have been overwhelmed by the cooperative spirit of the North Texas region,” says former Super Bowl-winning Cowboys quarterback and host committee chairman Roger Staubach (depicted as Uncle Sam, at left). “The goal is to host the best Super Bowl the NFL has ever experienced so we get in the rotation for future games. The economic impact to the entire region will be huge. These sponsorships are key in making sure this all happens.”
In addition to contributing financially to the Super Bowl XLV effort, there are many other ways CEOs and community leaders can get involved in the process.
“The fact of the matter is about 110,000 people will attend the game in Cowboys Stadium—the biggest crowd to ever attend the Super Bowl,” says Bill Lively, president and CEO of the host committee. “Millions of others will be touched by the game, and the region will benefit enormously from the engine the game represents.”
Volunteers are a major part of pulling off the event. The North Texas Super Bowl effort will need a total of approximately 10,000 volunteers. Anyone interested in helping can sign up on the host committee’s Web site, northtexassuperbowl.com.
Mike Berry, president of Fort Worth-based Hillwood Properties, is co-chair of the host committee’s Sponsorship Development Action Team, which identifies corporations to be invited to become sponsors, but he understands volunteering is also crucial.
“Maybe corporate leaders can empower their employees or their company to get involved in the support role at the volunteer level,” Berry says. “The other thing business leaders and CEOs can do is just become ambassadors for the effort—just talking it up, helping promote it, and making sure it’s top of mind with people to help the whole business community get excited about it.”
The levels of volunteering are myriad, which isn’t surprising considering the massive undertaking of hosting a Super Bowl—especially for the first time. Among the volunteering needs are assisting with the NFL Experience, greeting visitors at hotels and airports, and manning volunteer headquarters.
“It’s also key to be part of the training for volunteers,” says Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO Phillip Jones. “We have a program called the Ambassadors Program in which our cab drivers and out-front line employees in hotels and restaurants who will affect visitors who are coming here for the Super Bowl are properly trained to answer questions about Dallas and the North Texas region, and make sure they can create a first-class visitor experience.”
In addition, Staubach said the NFL supports approximately 50 charitable activities and community outreach programs in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, including Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together, which provides rehabilitation and repairs of housing for low-income families.
“The North Texas Super Bowl committee will be asked to provide many of these volunteers,” Staubach says. “Buying tickets for the Taste of the NFL supports local food banks, as well as food banks in all 32 NFL cities. There will be a multitude of opportunities for everyone to get involved and be part of the activities surrounding Super Bowl XLV.”
The host committee has already achieved numerous goals, including more than $1 million in grants to underwrite Super Bowl XLV’s Service Learning Adventures in North Texas educational program, known as SLANT 45.
The host committee has also received a $350,000 grant from Texas Instruments to exclusively underwrite the Emerging Business Program, which is designed to assist North Texas companies owned by minorities and women in qualifying to compete for contracts to provide Super Bowl goods and services.
The North Texas Super Bowl effort will need a total of approximately 10,000 volunteers.
Additionally, the committee has raised a $1 million grant to be matched by the NFL to establish a Youth Education Town Center in an Arlington neighborhood with at-risk children.
One reason several companies have already been so eager to get involved is the all-inclusiveness of the North Texas Super Bowl effort. At press time, there were 17 venues in four cities set to host Super Bowl events. Also, for the first time in NFL history, two different cities have been designated for the AFC (Fort Worth) and NFC (Irving) champions.
“Companies can become involved for lots of reasons—for branding, for marketing, as well as for civic responsibilities,” Lively says. “It’s the biggest regional project since the airport [Dallas/Fort Worth International] 35 years ago. Nothing like it has ever happened in this region.”
The fact that the Super Bowl affects the entire region is one of the reasons Berry was so excited to be a big part of the fundraising effort.
“There have been very few things we’ve been able to work on, in my opinion, where you’ve seen everybody in the region come together to try to really pull off a major success,” Berry says. “This is one of the few opportunities to really showcase to the rest of the world just what a unique and dynamic place North Texas is.”
Jones is elated that Dallas is so involved in hosting the Super Bowl, even though the game will be played in Arlington.
“One of the things we’ve been very pleased with is by stepping up to the plate early on—we were the first founding sponsor—we’ve been able to really work with the other founding sponsors and the other partners in this effort to make sure Dallas is a part of the regional effort,” Jones says. “Another thing we’re excited about is we’re going to be able to host the media party as a result of being a founding sponsor. That’s going to give us an opportunity to impress upon [more than 4,000] journalists all of the new changes and positive elements that have taken place in Dallas over the years.”
Getting the entire region involved in the effort will also serve to show planners for other big events in the future that North Texas is ready, willing, and able to be their host.
“It’s that the underwriting come not just from companies in any one city but all of the cities,” Lively says. “That’s what’s happening right now. It’s been really gratifying, so we can show at the end of the day that the cities throughout this region supported this investment. That’s terribly important. The volunteers will come from all over the place, so it really is a legitimate regional experience.”
Of course, financial sponsorship is the biggest key to Super Bowl XLV being the biggest and best one ever. Sponsorships range from $120,000 to $1 million. Sixteen of the 45 total sponsorships had already been filled in February.
In addition to bringing other big events to the area, hosting a Super Bowl will increase area tourism, according to Jones, who was the secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism for seven years.
“The year we hosted a Super Bowl [there], due to the exposure as a host city we would always have a bump [statewide] of about a million visitors the following year,” he says. “A lot of folks may want to attend a Super Bowl in your city but they can’t. However, they learn all about what the city has to offer by watching all of the press coverage and come back on their own.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of the money already raised by the host committee is the fact it was done in a tempestuous economic climate.
“We have done well considering what has gone on with the economy over the past year,” Staubach says. “We still have some funds to raise, but we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far with the help of our region’s companies and individuals.”
So, the countdown to Feb. 6, 2011, is officially on for North Texas.
“It’s a testament to this region’s level of preparation,” Lively says. “They’re ready for this. They don’t know what it’s going to mean, but they’re ready for it.”