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Archive for Monday, March 6, 2006

K.C. conditionally lands Super Bowl XLIX

March 6, 2006

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— If voters approve a tax to renovate the Truman Sports Complex and build a rolling roof, Kansas City will play host to the Super Bowl in 2015.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the announcement Sunday by speakerphone from New York, where he was involved in negotiations on a contract extension with the players union.

Also present for a news conference clearly aimed at kick-starting the drive for passage of the tax by Jackson County voters were Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and a number of civic leaders.

Tagliabue announced late last year that Kansas City would get a Super Bowl if the renovations were made and if a rolling roof were built to make Arrowhead Stadium climate-controlled. Sunday, he announced which specific Super Bowl Kansas City could have.

"Many factors went into this decision of the clubs to award Super Bowl 49 to Kansas City," Tagliabue said.

"Not the least of those factors was the recognition by our teams and the owners and the team executives of (Hunt's) contributions to the league and to the game of football over many, many decades."

Passage of the two measures on the April 4 ballot is not certain. A 3â8-cent sales tax would raise about $575 million for renovations to Arrowhead and the Royals' Kauffman Stadium. A separate tax would raise about $200 million to build the rolling roof, which would be used for both stadiums.

The Royals were invited to have a representative at the event Sunday, but chose not to.

"I think the membership felt hosting a Super Bowl in Kansas City was clearly the right thing to do," Tagliabue said. "Kansas City will become only the fourth Northern climate city to host a Super Bowl. Kansas City will have the longest lead time to prepare for the Super Bowl."

But Tagliabue made sure the voters of Jackson County understood what they had to do. Both stadiums opened in the early 1970s and are showing their age in many ways.

"The playing of Super Bowl 49 in Kansas City will be contingent on the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium and the rolling roof, and those improvements to the stadium will become critically important down the road as the voters of Jackson County prepare to go to the polls on April 4," he said. "From my perspective, this is a very, very exciting moment."

Other tax measures to bring the stadiums up to date have failed.

"When voters say yes on question No. 1 and when they say yes on question No. 2, our hopes will be realized and the Super Bowl will be here," said Pete Levi, president of the greater Kansas City chamber of commerce.

"We will have the coolest rolling roof any city has anywhere in the world. Now it is truly up to Jackson County voters to do their part."

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