Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Snowmageddon: It's Gone from Worse to Worst

Icepocalypse 2011 had visiting media, athletes, owners and other random hangers-on in North Texas for Super Bowl XLV complaining but dealing with it.   Snowmageddon 2011 has turned this week into a full-on disaster from a national perspective.  

At least Birdie likes it!
I spoke with a number of visiting media types on Tuesday.  Radio guys from Green Bay, New York and Pittsburgh all got a kick how the "Texans" were handling the weather.  They understood there was nothing we could do about the ice but had a simple "we're all dealing with it attitude" in terms of transportation and day-to-day operations.

One Green Bay talk show host quipped that we should take all the salt we use for our margaritas and put it on the roadways.

Points for humor. 

This latest round of snow is the flake that broke the tree's branch.  Sports Illustrated writer (and fabulous guy, I might add) Peter King tweeted "I'm telling you: I-30 between Dallas + Fort Worth is a plow-less, snow-windswept moonscape. This is officially a debacle."

He's right on all fronts.  While our hospitality has been appreciated and praised, we are now getting blasted with the snow and media hot air.  The weather isn't so much the issue, it's been our inability to deal with it that has people frustrated.

The ice and snow have affected everything.  A Friday event with Tony Romo has been rescheduled.  Friday morning television specials on Cowboys Stadium have been preempted for weather coverage.  Plans to broadcast in Sunday Square have been scrapped.  Media sessions, interviews and events all over North Texas have been cancelled, rescheduled or substantially delayed.

While I waiting outside in a valet line Thursday night to leave a party, the snow started falling.  A powerful, influential agent that I know you know lamented that this is an absolute disaster.  He told me he felt sorry for natives like me, who had so hoped for this week to be a success. 

I hate that our fair area is taking such a beating but the criticism is warranted.  For example, the sidewalks outside the Super Bowl XLV media hotel in downtown Dallas weren't sanded at last check.  Media with huge audiences whether it be radio, tv, print or online are communicating the message to the entire country that our town is doing nothing. 

What affect this weather has on the potential of North Texas hosting another Super Bowl remains to be seen.  I asked Jerry Jones that very question earlier in the week and he pointed out that, essentially, it's going to be the amount of money the NFL makes that determines whether a Super Bowl returns.  With so many people staying locked inside their homes and many more unable or too frightened to leave, it's keeping them from spending money.  I know many restauranteurs who ordered extra supplies of wine and other alcohol who will wind up with huge surpluses next week.

Parties will go on.  The game, of course, will be a ratings success because so many people want to see just what Cowboys Stadium looks like.  But the impression so many influential people will have of North Texas scares me.  As a person who wants nothing more than people to leave here thinking this is one of the most fabulous places in the U.S., I fear they will feel the opposite.
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