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Local group lays groundwork for '09 Super Bowl

A 30-member crew is in Miami checking out the latest wrinkles for when it's Tampa's turn.

Published February 1, 2007


TAMPA - A Tampa contingent is in Miami this week for the Super Bowl, but for many of them, the big game is merely an afterthought.

Instead, these community leaders and staff from the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau will be on a reconnaissance mission in advance of the 2009 Super Bowl, which will be played in Tampa.

"Until you experience the Super Bowl, you couldn't even begin to plan one," said Dianne Jacob, vice president of marketing for the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Each year, the NFL invites representatives of the cities slated to host the following two Super Bowls to check out pregame and game-day events so they'll know what to expect long before kickoff in their own city.

This year, about 30 people from the visitors bureau and Tampa's 2009 Super Bowl host committee are going to Miami. Phoenix, which hosts the event next year, is sending 126 people.

Tampa has hosted Super Bowls three times already - in 1984, 1991 and 2001 - but the event constantly changes.

"Every time we plan one, the bar is raised by the city that's after us," Jacob said. "You need to continue to learn to be a viable host city."

Bureau staff members will man a booth at the Miami Beach Convention Center and distribute information about Tampa. Some will attend special events, such as media parties in South Beach and at the Gulfstream Park race track and casino near Fort Lauderdale, and the Taste of the NFL food fest at the Broward County Convention Center.

They'll be thinking about where in Tampa similar events might be held, and paying attention to transportation and security issues. They'll chat up NFL officials and counterparts from Miami and Phoenix.

"We get to find out exactly from them what's working and not working and what the NFL expected of them that was different than what was expected of us at different times," Jacob said.

The trip will cost the Convention and Visitors Bureau about $30,000, which includes the purchase of about 12 game tickets at about $600 a piece, said bureau president Paul Catoe.

Tampa Super Bowl host committee members will go to exclusive events, such as the NFL commissioner's party at Parrot Jungle.

Committee chairman Dick Beard is one of the Tampa delegation members who will go to the game.

And who will he root for?

"Tony, of course," he said.

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coaches the Indianapolis Colts, who face the Chicago Bears Sunday.

Dungy's ties to Tampa add some emotional punch to the game for the local contingent.

"We've got something to pull for and hope for," Beard said. "I'm excited for him."

Who's going

Committee members slated to be in Miami include:

- Dick Beard, developer and committee chairman

- Jim Norman, Hillsborough County Commission chairman

- Ronnie Duncan, Pinellas County Commission chairman

- Rhea Law, attorney

- Sandy MacKinnon, Yale Industrial Trucks owner, and his wife, Dottie Berger MacKinnon, who will be organizing Tampa's Super Bowl volunteers.

[Last modified February 1, 2007, 06:11:35]

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