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Sunday, February 7, 2010
Updated: February 8, 11:10 PM ET
Hosting Super Bowl is a super challenge

By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com

Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones gets to show off Cowboys Stadium next year at Super Bowl XLV.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Now, it's North Texas' turn.

Super Bowl XLV will come to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 6, 2011. It's the first time the Dallas-Forth Worth area will host such a prestigious and financially taxing event.

"Not only are we going to be ready, we're going to be enthusiastic," Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said last week. "On Monday, the clock really starts. I think we see the potential for this year, and I think more and more we'll focus on doing such a good job."

At the forefront is raising money.

When North Texas secured the bid in May 2007, it proposed raising $30 million to fund the project. Slightly more than half of that has been raised so far.

While Super Bowl XLV host committee president and CEO Bill Lively said being behind is a concern, he is optimistic about what can occur in the upcoming year.

Lively said the committee is asking corporate sponsors to kick in $1 million each. Super Bowl events generate millions of dollars for cities and states.

Arlington, which is between Dallas and Fort Worth, is hosting the game, but numerous other smaller cities, including Grapevine, Irving, Frisco, Plano and Mansfield, will be counted on to help with the project.

Mayors of more than 100 cities in the region were asked to band together to help promote the game by scheduling events in their towns.

"Now that we've had a chance to operate the stadium, we can really see its possibilities in North Texas," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

"I never thought when I got in the NFL, the NFL would provide the incentive for a team of people to come together, over 100 mayors, and with their leadership along with others. It creates a common goal."

That goal is to get another Super Bowl, or mainly to get in the regular rotation of hosting the game. To be in position to do that, organizers had to learn plenty from other host cities.

One of the main issues will be where to set things up.

Super Bowl XLIV was played in Miami Gardens, Fla., a suburb of Miami, but the media hotel and a bulk of the NFL-sponsored events were located in Fort Lauderdale, which is north of Miami.

The New Orleans Saints' team hotel was in Miami, while the Indianapolis Colts roomed in Fort Lauderdale.

Several television networks, ESPN included, held daily shows down on South Beach instead of in Fort Lauderdale.

In North Texas, the stadium is between Dallas and Fort Worth, but the party scene will include both cites. The media hotel and media center, where the famed Radio Row is set up, will be in Dallas.

Next year, the AFC team will be based in Fort Worth and practice at TCU. The NFC base will be in Irving, and practices will be at the Cowboys' facility.

Arlington Mayor Bob Cluck said transporting teams from the various sites and dealing with the security risks associated with a major international event are issues any host city must handle.

After getting the bid, Cluck learned plenty about what to do and what not to do.

"I thought it would be only two or three people [city staff members] in Arlington along with public safety involved in the process," Cluck said. "Boy, I was wrong. I can't wait to see it."

Cluck has already had to deal with his city's identity problem, one that Glendale, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, also faced when it hosted Super Bowl XLII. The names of the suburbs tend to be overlooked in television broadcasts in favor of the larger cities.

"It took a little work and some phone calls to NBC and ABC, but they're starting to change some," Cluck said. "Glendale had the same problem, but that's changing, too."

Regardless of the obstacles ahead, the countdown to the 2010 season begins Monday. And North Texas has to be ready for the final game.

"This is us," said former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, chairman of the host committee. "It is real. Just by being here [Fort Lauderdale] tells you that. It's a great feeling to know all the world will be watching us for Super Bowl XLV."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.