EVENTS & PROMOTIONS;TIE-IN EVENTS SPROUT AROUND SUPER BOWL XXX

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For football-fanatic TV viewers, Super Bowl XXX will be a singular event occurring on a singular date over the course of several singular hours.

But for first-time host Arizona, the event is its chance to roll out the welcome mat to thousands of visitors by throwing a three-month party of 77-plus game-related events (see partial list on Page 34), capped by the National Football League's Jan. 28 championship game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

EVENTS RECORD

That total is a record for events orbiting the big game and marks something of an image turnaround for Arizona. The state was supposed to have hosted Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, but that game was moved to Los Angeles because Arizona didn't recognize a holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

With that policy corrected, Arizona now also hopes to present a unified, football-friendly front to executives of the NFL so that they will allow the Super Bowl to make a return appearance in their state in the future.

Super Bowl events are coming in three official flavors. Some are the creations of NFL Properties, the league's New York-based marketing arm. Others are new, locally created events that carry the Super Bowl title; yet others are previously existing, locally owned events that this year are sporting the Super Bowl name.

Even Arizonans are wowed by the scale of local, NFL-sanctioned events featuring the "Arizona Super Bowl XXX" prefix.

HONORING KING

Examples include six Super Bowl-branded events in the state's first-ever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Arizona Celebration.

The Super Bowl has even affected plans of at least one other professional sport. The annual PGA Phoenix Open moved from Jan. 28 to Jan. 27 so as not to conflict with the bowl game, but its organizers are sponsoring the Phoenix Open Charity Cup the morning of the game and will fly celebrities and corporate bigwigs to the game via helicopter.

Even the annual Pack Burro Race & Discovery Park Weekend in Safford is now a designated Super Bowl XXX event, despite the fact that it will be held Feb. 3, making it the final sanctioned activity.

Credit goes to the Super Bowl XXX Host Committee in Phoenix, but also to NFL Properties, whose VP-business development, Don Garber, is charged with making sure Super Bowl events entertain fans and mesh with the goals of TV partners and sponsors.

Mr. Garber oversaw the creation of the NFL Linemen Challenge: The Battle of the Big Men, a Jan. 26 event pitting NFL players in contests of skill, to be covered by ESPN and ESPN2.

Mr. Garber also quarterbacked the Champion Throwbacks Bowl, a flag football game played by NFL legends, to be broadcast on Turner Network Television on Jan. 26 as part of TNT's annual "SBTV" programming. Champion Products, which exclusively markets a line of Throwbacks apparel, is the sponsor. The NFL will also introduce the Super Bowl Concert Series this year, another Garber production. These first-time events will become annual occurrences.

NFL THEME PARK

But the crown jewel is the fifth annual NFL Experience sports and entertainment theme park, which for the first time will open the weekend before the Super Bowl on Jan. 19 at double last year's size.

The 20-acre park this year includes a 5,000-seat ministadium to stage events such as the Linemen Challenge. Coca-Cola Co. is the title sponsor; America West Airlines, Classic Cards, Foot Locker, Miller Lite and Oscar Mayer Foods Corp. are associate sponsors.

The plethora of Super Bowl-related events is sanctioned by both the NFL and the Super Bowl XXX Host Committee, which employs a staff of event coordinators that assist event organizers. Most of the events are free; those with paid admission donate profits to official NFL charities.

$150,OOO DEALS

The committee has signed up 23 sponsors of its own and tied each to at least one event. Most, like America West and the Mayo Clinic, paid $150,000 for the committee's sponsorship packages. Others, like NFL sponsor Coca-Cola, paid more to accomplish their aggressive local marketing.

Sponsors get recognition in all committee marketing communications, handled by the Martz Agency, Phoenix. At events, they get signage and product placement.

SOUVENIR FIRE SALE

Highlights include the NFL Players Party, Jan. 25 to 28 in Phoenix, the largest Super Bowl gala of its kind; the Bank One Super Bowl Street Spectacular, a block party in downtown Tempe on Jan. 27 that will feature concerts, interactive games and a fireworks display; and the Arizona Super Bowl XXX Fire Sale in Tempe on Dec. 29, a going-out-of-business sale for Super Bowl souvenir vendors.

The NFL cracks down on unofficial events, but one that the league has quietly allowed to flourish, because it has supported NFL charities and retired players, is Heublein's Cuervo Margarita Bowl, making its fourth Super Bowl ambush appearance with 10 former NFL greats playing a flag football game. That event will be broadcast on ESPN2 Jan. 27.

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