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Super Bowl is XL thrill for Detroit

DETROIT - NFL owners yesterday announced that the 2006 Super Bowl will be played at Detroit's to-be-built downtown stadium.

Super Bowl XL (that's 40 in Roman numerals) is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2006. It was awarded at the league meetings in Atlanta. No other cities had bid for the 2006 game.

“What a great day for Detroit,” said William Clay Ford Jr., vice chairman of the Detroit Lions and chairman of Ford Motor Co. “I think it's safe to say that we scored a touchdown on our opening drive today. The team that put together the presentation just did a fantastic job.

“A number of the owners said to me they felt they were at a new car show today. It was quite a presentation.”

The event will infuse the Detroit-area economy with an estimated $400 million in 2006 dollars, said David Littmann, chief economist for Comerica Inc. Most of that money will be spent at hotels and motels and on food, beverages, transportation and entertainment, he said.

“It's absolutely mind-boggling,” said Littmann, who based his estimate on the $300 million spent at this year's Super Bowl in Atlanta, inflation and the expanding scale of Super Bowl-related activity.

The Toledo area is expected to get a financial boost from the game too.

Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Jim Donnelly would like to think Toledo helped make Detroit bid successful.

Donnelly said he has been in contact with the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) for about a year in regard to bringing a Super Bowl to the Motor City. He was asked by the DCVB in August to write a letter to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue promising Toledo's full support in helping meet the needs necessary to host one of the biggest annual sporting events in the country.

Donnelly said his letter stated that 5,000 of the Toledo area's 7,000 first-class hotel rooms would be committed to the NFL during the week of the Super Bowl.

“We were part of the whole package and I believe because of us and other (cities) working with Detroit helped complete it,” Donnelly said. “Detroit standing alone, I don't think they could have handled it all.”

“I think it's excellent because it will bring people to our area perhaps who had never been here before,” Donnelly said.

Toledo Radisson Hotel manager Michael Sapara said he's not sure what to expect in terms of an overflow.

“You might get an overflow, but whether it is really enough to make a difference is really hard to judge,” Sapara said.

And if you're thinking about tickets to the game, don't hold your breath. Tickets for the 2001 Super Bowl, in Tampa, go for $400 each, and fewer than 1,000 were made available by the NFL - and those only by lottery to Tampa Bay Buccaneers season-ticket holders.

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