04/29/2011

Outgoing Super Bowl Host Committee head suffering health problems

Bill Lively, head of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee, is stepping down from his new job heading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra because of health concerns, The Dallas Morning News is reporting.

Arlington Super Bowl event 3 Lively, 67, who is wrapping up his final responsibilities with the Host Committee, told classical music writer Scott Cantrell that he has been experiencing headaches, chest pains and weight loss. He said doctors have found nothing wrong but told him to take it easier.

 

 

02/28/2011

Displaced Super Bowl fans get more time to decide on lawsuit

Fans whose seats weren't ready on Super Bowl Sunday at Cowboys Stadium will get more time to decide whether to accept a settlement from the National Football League or join a class-action lawsuit, a federal judge in Dallas has ruled, according to USA Today.

Los Angeles-based attorney Michael J. Avenatti has filed a $5 million suit against the league, the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones. About 1,200 fans lost their seats when a month-long temporary seating project overseen by the Cowboys wasn't completed by game time.

Here's a copy of the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas.


 

02/25/2011

Jerry Jones defends Super Bowl vision, takes responsibility for problems

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke in public Friday for the first time since the seating debacle at Cowboys Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday.

Speaking from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Jones said his goal was to have the greatest Super Bowl ever and that many things went right on Feb. 6.

But he said he was disappointed and regrets the seating problems, which forced about 1,200 fans to be moved at the last minute because their seats weren't ready.

He declined to go into detail about what happened because of ongoing evaluations.

He said his lofty "vision" for the biggest Super Bowl ever was not the problem because the stadium was built to handle the 1,300 or so temporary seats. The problem was more operational. He refused to go into specifics.

He said he takes full responsibility along with the NFL and said he understands why he is being criticized personally as the face of Cowboys Stadium.

He said his disappointment motivates him to get it right next time.

Jones again cited the unusual weather -- ice, snow and temperatures that stayed below freezing for days -- as the biggest problem and said the NFL and its owners recognize that and will consider as much in relation to future Super Bowls in North Texas.

He said the opportunity for future games in North Texas is very good.

As far as football is concerned, Jones said quarterback is a strength for the Cowboys, with Tony Romo in place, but he said the team will evaluate Auburn's Cam Newton and that he should not be dismissed as an option with the ninth pick.

A quarterback is a future consideration. Obviously, he said, the Cowboys will be looking hard at the need positions of cornerback, defensive line and offensive line with the ninth pick as well.

-- Clarence E. Hill Jr.

02/22/2011

A deeper dive on Arlington's image hit during the Super Bowl

Competitive Edge Research & Communication, the San Diego firm that does annual surveys on the PR communities get from hosting the Super Bowl, is out this afternoon with its full survey. A preliminary report Feb. 10 showed 10.7 percent of viewers polled before the Feb. 6 Super Bowl in Arlington had a very positive impression of Arlington, but only 6.7 percent had such an impression in a postgame sampling.

On to the full report. Arlington picked up significant name ID from the game, with 13 percent of viewers identifying it as the host in the pregame survey, and 23 percent postgame. Twenty-seven percent IDd Dallas as the host in both samplings.

But of the folks who knew beforehand that Arlington was the host, 37 percent had a "very positive" impression. In the postgame sampling, that number shrank to 7 percent.

Competitive Edge notes the Super Bowl announcer, Joe Buck, mentioned Arlington nine times during the broadcast. But Buck's mentions were "neutral" and "bumper shots" -- live video before and after commercial breaks -- "were usually of crowds huddled around leafless trees outside Cowboys Stadium on what looked like a chilly evening."

Young adults, people from the South, and Texans gave Arlington worst ratings in the postgame survey than other segments of the samplings, Competitive Edge said.

Dallas, on the other hand, didn't take much of a hit in its image, according to the survey results. Among viewers, 14.8 percent had a very positive impression of Big D in the pregame survey. That number declined to 10.7 percent postgame. More than half of viewers had no impressinon of Dallas before, or after, the game.

"When we isolate the folks who thought Dallas hosted the game, we find that...they did not downgrade the city at all," Competitive Edge said. "Therefore, the image downgrade for Arlington was a function of paying close attention to the Super Bowl and the situation surrounding it."

The survey also found that North Texas' pitch as regional host to the Super Bowl didn't "resonate" with viewers. "A trivial number thought of North Texas as the host of Super Bowl XLV," Competiive Edge said.

- Scott Nishimura

 

 

 

02/17/2011

Early returns show North Texas economy got Super Bowl boost

Despite the snow and ice, Super Bowl planners say the game brought more private planes, more hotel revenues and more train riders to North Texas than expected.

The North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee is starting to get back some of the data from Super Bowl weekend and says "profitable feedback" is coming in from airports and hotels.

"Here’s what we know so far ... the economic impact of this game was tremendous and made a big impact on this state in a difficult time with our budget," Host Committee president Bill Lively said.

Lively stressed that it will take months to compile all of the data to get the complete picture of the economic impact of the game.

Usually, it takes 60 days for sales tax data to be collected by the state comptroller’s office. Cities that are expecting to be reimbursed for Super Bowl-related expenses out of a comptroller-run sales tax Super Bowl fund are currently compiling receipts.

But so far, Super Bowl planners say they are encouraged by the numbers they have seen.

Six of the 15 regional airports have reported figures to the Host Committee, and Lively said almost 1,200 private aircraft landed during Super Bowl week. Organizers had expected more than 700.

The night before the game, there were close to 800 private aircraft parked at North Texas airports, he said.

In a 21-hour post-game period, from 9 p.m. Feb. 6 to 6 p.m. Feb. 7, the Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 1,100 general aviation departures. Dallas/Fort Worth Airport had an additional 44 charter flights, 100 corporate aircraft and 60 extra commercial airline flights, the airport said.

Dallas hotels saw revenues quadruple the Thursday of Super Bowl week, with revenues on that Saturday up 590 percent, according to the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Arlington and Fort Worth hotel data is not yet available. However, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau chief executive Jay Burress said that hoteliers in his city were thrilled with their Super Bowl week.

"Only a month prior to the game, they still had availability, and they were nervous and ready to see what was going to happen," Burress said in a statement. "Many of the hotel rooms were filled immediately once the teams were known."

Trinity Railway Express ridership numbers were bolstered by Super Bowl crowds.

On the day before the game, the TRE carried a record 9,088 riders to the NFL Experience in Dallas and the ESPN studios in Fort Worth's Sundance Square.

With the packed crowds in Sundance Square that day, the TRE added two additional trains that ran late Saturday evening. TRE shuttles to its Centreport station also carried 4,000 passengers to the game.

Even though fans had difficulty traveling on roads around the Metroplex because of the ice, Super Bowl planners touted the fact that no official function or team-related practice or activity was delayed due to the weather.

More 600 TxDOT employees, 400 pieces of equipment, 3.2 million pounds of granular magnesium chloride and 34,000 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride were used to clear the snow and ice from roads.

Lively also touched on the community impact from various programs sponsored by the Host Committee.

For example, 6,000 trees were planted in 12 North Texas cities as part of the NFL’s Environmental Program, and 45,000 local children participated in the Slant 45 program, performing 440,000 hours of community service.

-- Andrea Ahles

02/15/2011

NFL adds refund to options available to displaced fans at Super Bowl XLV

In its continuing efforts to appease the Super Bowl 400, the National Football League has offered a third option for those fans who were unable to watch Super Bowl XLV from an actual seat in Cowboys Stadium -- a full refund of expenses incurred.

The league released a statement Tuesday saying it continues to reach out to disaffected fans and listen to suggestions for compensating them for what the NFL acknowledges was a regrettable and inexcusable situation.

The newest option is:

"For those who want reimbursement for expenses, the NFL will reimburse the greater of $5,000 or your actual documented expenses (in certain defined categories) to any verified ticket holder in the specified sections.

The NFL's other options:

I. $2,400 plus one (1) game ticket to the next Super Bowl played.

II. One (1) game ticket to any future Super Bowl of your choice, together with round-trip economy class airfare and four (4) nights hotel accommodation provided by the NFL.

The league went on to say that if one of the 400 displaced fans choose Options I & II, their ticket and location will need to be verified to be entitled to choose Option III. Complete details of the full refund option will be available in the information packages the NFL will send upon receipt of a ticket holder's  submission to the special website www.nfl.com/sb45reseating.

Pete Alfano


 

NFL's failure to communicate on game day might be biggest sin of all

The national uproar over the seating problems at Cowboys Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday sort of overshadowed what was actually a bigger issue: A very long wait for the 103,000-plus trying to enter the stadium.

Many people -- including VIPs such as Host Committee president Bill Lively -- endured what could only be described as a nightmarish wait to get inside the security perimeter on game day. Fans described two-hour waits without toilets, food, water -- or explanation.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Sports Business Journal  that the waits were a result of a delay in opening the stadium gates while workers were trying to finish the ill-fated seats. 

It's hard not to use the word "debacle" in this case. Seats weren't finished, even though the NFL and the Cowboys had years of advance notice that they would be needed. Gates didn't open when they were supposed to open. Ice that had collected on the roof days before remained up there on game day. 

And maybe the worst sin of all: The NFL elected not to tell anyone.

In the end, that's the one thing that's hard to get past. The world's media was focused on Arlington, Texas, on game day. Yet, in this age of instant communication, the league decided not to use that media attention to inform people headed for the stadium that entrances were closed, seats weren't finished and security lines were long.

Tens of thousands of fans did what they had been urged to do -- arrived early, expecting the security entrances and outdoor fan plazas to open at noon and the stadium doors to open at 1 p.m. 

The NFL said nothing, leaving Arlington police and security officials to deal with angry, rowdy fans who were, to put it simply, kept in the dark from start to finish.

Later, when it was all over, McCarthy would only say, We thought we'd finish the seats on time.

Although the black eye might be the NFL's, North Texas got punched in the face, too, and a consensus seems to be forming that landing Super Bowl L (that's 50) in five years is now a pipe dream.

But, hey, the TV broadcast went off right on time. Priorities?

-- Kathy Vetter, editor

02/11/2011

City documents show officials' concerns about temporary seating at the Super Bowl

Arlington city officials on Friday defended the permitting and inspection process that led to more than a thousand temporary seats being unavailable on Super Bowl Sunday.

The city released hundreds of e-mails and building inspection documents to the media that detailed the city's role in certifying the safety of the temporary bleachers constructed in the end zone plazas and the concourse.

Officials also said they "threw everything we could at" the project to help the contractor, Seating Solutions, and the Dallas Cowboys finish the temporary seats in time for the game.

"We don’t build seats," deputy city manager Trey Yelverton said during a morning news conference. "It’s not a stadium job to actually do the job. We are in the role of supervising and inspecting the work that is being done. We can’t get out there and build the seats ourselves."

Fire and city building officials were clearly concerned for weeks that the seats wouldn't be done in time.

In an e-mail sent to Jack Hill, Cowboys Stadium general manager, three days before Sunday's game, Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson said:

"I'm very concerned that there is not currently a certified Engineering report confirming the structural stability of the 'as built' seating/stands," the e-mail reads.

"I'm also concerned about the effective completion of this project. There have been multiple meetings with your contractor where agreed-upon goals and timelines were established and, subsequently, not met nor completed to standard," Crowson wrote.

-Andrea Ahles and Susan Schrock

02/09/2011

What didn't sell last week might show up this week at Town Talk Foods

Savvy shoppers have been staking out Fort Worth’s Town Talk Foods this week, waiting to see what might show up at the discount grocer after ice and snow wiped out a good part of last week for anybody selling food and Super Bowl T-shirts.

Town Talk’s owner, Tom Potthoff, bought 500 cases of unsold deli party trays from one manufacturer early this week. Priced at $4.99 and $6.99, it didn’t take shoppers long to find the trays, which feature different arrays of ham, salami, cheeses, crackers, dips, vegetables, and fruit.

"We had a big run yesterday," Potthoff, whose store is at 121 N. Beach St., said Wednesday. "We had a slew of folks."

From another manufacturer, he took in a large offering of tortilla and potato chips Monday, and more Tuesday.

"I had one person call me about some cheeses," Potfhoff said. "I don’t know for sure if that’s going to happen."

He got an offer from somebody else for Pittsburgh Steelers championship T-shirts.

"They didn’t win, and they wanted too much money for them," said Potthoff, who bit on a large offering of Texas Longhorns merchandise after the UT football team won the national title a few years ago.

As far as unsold inventory from restaurants or caterers, it’s "a little early" to tell what he might be offered, Potthoff said. Restaurants typically return unsold goods to their suppliers, which may put them back in inventory, Potthoff said.

"I think people are trying to figure out where they are inventories right now," Potthoff said, who expects more offers coming in as early as this week.

If the trends hold from last Super Bowls, he expects to be offered Super Bowl-themed cups and Steelers or Green Bay Packers logo napkins.

"We could have Super Bowl trash cans tomorrow, I just don’t know," he said.

- Scott Nishimura

Fort Worth mayor: 'Dallas came to Fort Worth to party'

The Fort Worth City Council used part of the pre-council meeting Tuesday to take stock of Super Bowl week. With ESPN as an anchor in Sundance Square, officials hoped to show off Fort Worth on a world stage. Mayor Mike Moncrief believes that happened despite the bad weather.

And once the skies cleared and the temperature rose, Sundance Square started making money for businesses and tax collectors alike.

"I think you all would agree when that weather changed, Dallas came to Fort Worth to party," Moncrief said. "I don't think any of us have seen that many people in our city core before."

Moncrief and his council colleagues were also pleased not to be the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL, both of whom have been the subject of criticism for temporary seating that wasn't ready on game day.

"There were some things we couldn't control, like the seating issue," Moncrief said. "We can't do something we know nothing about. But it's not Fort Worth that's in the headlines now."

-- John Henry