Pleasing local residents is a focus of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee for next year’s events.
Members of the committee were encouraged about their plans after visiting South Florida.
“I’m convinced that although Miami has done 10 Super Bowls, that North Texas will be better,” said Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman. “I’m convinced that the people who come to North Texas to experience Super Bowl 45 will leave thinking, 'I wish we could do this every single year right here in North Texas.'”
Many events during South Florida Super Bowl week were geared toward local residents, and North Texas will stage similar events.
Super Bowl Saturday Night was a concert on Fort Lauderdale Beach with rock band O.A.R. headlining. There were food vendors and extra security to avoid possible trouble between fans with strong pre-game feelings. A long line of school buses took local fans back to remote parking lots after the concert.
Down the road that same night was The Taste of The NFL, featuring chefs from each NFL city. Proceeds benefited a local food bank.
Chef Ken Rathbun from the Dallas Restaurant Abacus represented North Texas at the event, and he’s organizing next year’s 20th anniversary Taste of The NFL, which will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
“We have numerous chefs in Dallas -- in fact, pretty much everybody I know -- that can’t wait to be involved in this next year,” Rathbun said.
The home team can feature many restaurants.
The Florida event was held under a large tent, but another large party the night before was held outdoors, and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck was there.
“We’ve learned that you need to have a plan B in addition to plan A. Last night they had a wonderful event, but it rained, and it ruined the event,” Cluck said.
The tent for the South Florida Taste of The NFL was outside the Broward County Convention Center, which served as the South Florida Super Bowl media center.
The convention center also shared parking space with Port Everglades cruise ships.
That made for heavy traffic at times, but the traffic was pleasing to nearby convenience store owner George Moforis.
“I’m very glad, because there’s a lot of traffic, a lot of people, a lot of money," he said.
North Texas Host committee leaders forecast that half of the out-of-town visitors may not have tickets, but will come to town just to join the local festivities. That was evident in South Florida.
“We’re here for the atmosphere definitely,” said Vicki Brown, of Lansing, Mich. “We don’t anticipate even being able to get in; the tickets, they are just really expensive.”
North Texas transportation planners intend to accommodate all these people during Super Bowl week.
“We get customers who are our guests that we’ve got to provide good service to,” said Michael Morris, of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. “We’ve got to make sure that we don’t alienate our residents as we do it, so they’re not too harsh.”
North Texas leaders want their first Super Bowl to be so impressive that the NFL selects the location again in the future, and this requires pleasing local residents, as well as visitors.
“We want the citizens of North Texas to really want to host it year, after year, after year,” said Bowman.