ARLINGTON (AP) — A brief call from the Dallas Cowboys owner started a celebration Tuesday at Arlington City Hall.
“Gather your butt up — we’re going to have a Super Bowl,” team owner Jerry Jones said by phone to Mayor Robert Cluck, as city officials gathered around to listen. “We got her.”
Cluck first got the news in a quick call from an official in Nashville, Tenn., where NFL owners chose Arlington over Indianapolis and the Phoenix area to host the 2011 Super Bowl.
Then Cluck quickly summoned other city leaders into a meeting room to take Jones’ call. They cheered, donned baseball caps proclaiming “Arlington welcomes Super Bowl XLV” and unfurled a banner with the same message. They also brought in blue, white and silver balloons, some with the Cowboys logo.
“We will pull out the stops for this Super Bowl bid, and I think it will be the best that anybody has ever seen,” Cluck said. “As a matter of fact, that’s our pledge to you, that this Super Bowl will be second to none.”
Cluck said he had been confident in the North Texas group’s bid and believes it was selected because of the $1 billion stadium opening in Arlington in 2009. The venue will hold up to 100,000, about 27,000 more than the losing cities’ stadiums.
Cluck said another plus was the North Texas area, home to 6 million people and many hotels, restaurants and entertainment options. But he said he hopes transportation issues already affecting Arlington residents will be addressed before the Super Bowl.
The next step is appointing a host committee that will raise money for the event, he said.
“I think this shows what North Texas can do when we all work together, because indeed this was a North Texas venture,” Cluck said.
Eating lunch at an Arlington sports pub on Tuesday, Cowboys fans Star Bradford and C.J. Johnson said they were excited that the city would host the Super Bowl.
“I think it’ll be good if they fix the roads first, but even with more traffic, it’s only a couple of days,” Bradford said. “I think for business it’s good, and as far as the economy, it will be great. Now if we can just get tickets.”
Cluck said the economic impact in the two weeks around the event is estimated at up to $400 million but said a study is being planned to determine exactly how much.
A group of city officials in Dallas cheered upon hearing the news Tuesday. Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said in a statement that the Super Bowl will bring “enormous” economic benefits to the region — “not to mention be a point of pride and a whole lot of fun.”
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said in a statement that the successful effort demonstrates what the region can accomplish “when we partner up. Everyone benefits, and we all win.”
Two of the first 41 Super Bowls were played in Texas — both in Houston. The first was in 1974 at Rice Stadium, and the game returned in 2004, two years after the Houston Texans opened Reliant Stadium.
The Cowboys have been to more Super Bowls than any team — eight, with five wins — but have never hosted one. The open roof at Texas Stadium in Irving and the region’s chilly winters never made North Texas a desirable location for the NFL’s marquee game.
The new stadium will have a retractable roof to cover a hole similar to the famous one at Texas Stadium. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., home to four Super Bowls, is the only venue to surpass 100,000 for the big event. Jones said as many as 120,000 tickets could be sold for the new facility.