If you thought planning your Super Bowl party was an undertaking, try organizing the game itself.Planning a Super Bowl is a little like planning a vacation, only instead of stopping your mail and finding a dog sitter, you’re organizing an army of volunteers and locking down enough parking for 90,000 game-day fans.
Number of hours of community service completed by children in the SLANT 45 program
American Way: In the past year, Dallas–Fort Worth has hosted the NBA All-Star Game, the World Series and now the Super Bowl. Have you been able to take anything from those other events?
Tara Green: They’re all quite different, but you’re able to learn from each about safety, transportation and public planning. We’re fortunate that we’ve had two years to prepare for Super Bowl XLV. For the World Series, they had two weeks.
AW: What role do volunteers play?
TG: Volunteers are the heart and soul of a big event like this. We’ll work with more than 10,000 volunteers to plan and implement all the events leading up to the game and on game day.
AW: Have you found that people are willing to pitch in?
TG: We’ve been very lucky in the overwhelming enthusiasm — and it’s not just volunteers from North Texas. We have volunteers coming from other countries that are just passionate about the Super Bowl and want to be involved somehow.
TG: It’s interesting that you say that, because we had several international media groups tour the area and they’d say, “We want to see Dallas.” They’re seeing tall buildings and a sleek, urban, modern city, and it’s just not their perception of Dallas. I’d ask them, “This is Dallas; what do you want to see?” And they’d come back with: “Longhorn cattle, oil derricks and cowboys.” You can have both experiences, and that’s the great thing about North Texas: There’s something here for everybody. But changing perceptions is great.
AW: Do you have a vested interest in who ends up playing in the Super Bowl? Do larger-market teams bring more people?
TG: If you’re a team that travels well, that’s great. But if you’re a team that’s new to the Super Bowl, like the [New Orleans] Saints last year — they had an amazing group of fans that followed them to Miami for that game. Every year it’s something different.
AW: Why is the planning so important for an event like this?
TG: The Super Bowl is more than a football game. It has an impact on the community. We’ve created a [children’s community-service] program called SLANT 45. We’ve got more than 900 women and minority-owned businesses with an opportunity to bid on Super Bowl–related contracts. We’re planting 6,500 trees [in preparation for] the game. Those are long-term, lasting benefits.