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14 Jun 10 Super Bowl Brings Musical Extravaganza to North Texas

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(Editor’s Note: The Following is a story contributed by the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee.)
There may never come another day in the history of Cowboys Stadium when fans enjoy more bang for their bucks than is likely on September 10.

With tickets prices starting at a mere $25 (and going on sale June 26), a two-and-a-half-hour extravaganza titled “XLV Countdown Live From Cowboys Stadium” presented by Frito-Lay will rock the big house in Arlington.

One day before the Dallas Cowboys kick off an NFL season that will determine what two teams end up in North Texas for Super Bowl XLV, the Host Committee’s mammoth undertaking will include:

• A concert headlining country superstar Tim McGraw. McGraw made the official announcement Saturday night on stage while performing for a sold-out crowd at Superpages.com Center in Dallas. He’ll wrap up the Host Committee’s three-tiered Kick-Off Concert Series, which began with a performance by his wife, Faith Hill, in March at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall.

• North Texas’ own celebration of Emmitt Smith and his Hall of Fame career. The most prolific runner in NFL history will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a month prior to this celebration. Smith commented, “I am so humbled to be honored in such a way upon my return from Canton. This is a very special evening for me and my family to be able to share this with the greatest fans in America.”

• A tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Dallas Cowboys. The great stars over Cowboys’ history will introduce five-minute segments of a half-century of highlights displayed on the huge stadium scoreboards. NFL Films is providing the footage, and the 90-piece XLV Symphony Orchestra will score it live.

• A rare public performance by Van Cliburn. One of the great pianists in history, raised in the East Texas town of Kilgore and now living in Fort Worth, Cliburn will perform the “National Anthem” on his grand piano.

• The chance to see Cowboys Stadium, for the many who have yet to step inside. As Kit Sawers, Host Committee VP of Special Events, puts it, “We are expecting more than 30,000 fans to join us that evening…for just a little more than the price of a stadium tour.”

• There’ll be several more announcements this summer. In other words, be on the lookout.

Even those who have only visited the year-old wonder for previous concerts will get a far more striking look at the massive scoreboards, which will be lowered and active throughout the evening.

Tentative plans are to set up the stage at the 50-yard line facing one end zone. Floor seating will reward those who already purchased tickets for all three Series events (Hill in Fort Worth, Sting’s Dallas performance in May, and this big one) and for $65 purchasers.

No upper deck seats will be sold, and the $25 seats will comprise 80 to 85 percent of the configured seating. Bill Lively, the Host Committee’s President & CEO, says pricing is “one-sixth the cost of other major concerts at Cowboys Stadium.”

As with the other two concerts, this one is presented by Frito-Lay. Live Nation and Host Committee partner CorporateMagic are handling event production. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will introduce Emmitt Smith. And the University of North Texas’ internationally acclaimed College of Music is assembling the 90-piece XLV Symphony Orchestra.

“As you can imagine,” Sawers said, “determining the setup of Cowboys Stadium was a little bit trickier than it was for Bass Hall or the Winspear Opera House. But the Cowboys and our partners helped us figure it out, and the large screens will be featured in a way they have not been featured before.”

The high-energy evening will run from roughly 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets go on sale Saturday, June 26, at www.ticketmaster.com or by dialing (800) 745-3000.

Lively emphasized, “It’s important that the people in this region that have supported the Cowboys for five decades and care about where they are now, have a chance to come into the stadium that’s going to host the game and see something that’s really unparalleled here.

“The League has told me this: This will likely be the biggest event introducing an NFL season in history… So the goal is to make this so spectacular, if we can, that people will come to this game who can’t go to the Super Bowl and have an experience that will be memorable.”

Tony Fay, the Host Committee’s VP of Communications, feels McGraw’s broad name identification makes him the ideal performer.

“I think the number one thing we were looking for all along was an act with a wide appeal, somebody who was not slotted into one genre,” Fay said. “Tim McGraw has that wide appeal. He’s had the network specials, he starred with Sandra Bullock in the movie The Blind Side, he has a big following, not strictly a country following.”

McGraw is also a huge NFL fan.

“North Texas has an obvious passion for both music and football,” McGraw said, “and it will be an unbelievable experience to be a part of the official countdown to Super Bowl XLV. This will be more than simply a concert, but rather a celebration, and Cowboys Stadium is the perfect venue.”

Nobody is going to forget the reason for this event: It really is the kickoff to the NFL’s regular season. And at the end of this season, Super Bowl XLV will be played at Cowboys Stadium.

“I think it’s important that each one of the three concerts has not just been a matter of us opening the door and putting an act out there,” Fay said. “Everything we’ve done, we’ve been very conscious of trying to bring it back to the Super Bowl. Whether it be Joe Buck and Troy Aikman hosting Faith Hill at Bass Hall, or Cowboys legends hosting for Sting, we’ve brought it back to the sports page, which is what it’s all about.”

Whoever thought a family of four could walk into Cowboys Stadium for $100 bucks? The bang is coming this fall.

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