After learning from media reports that the National Football League was upset with Glendale’s handling of the 2015 Super Bowl, the city has been working feverishely to repair any hard feelings and fixing all issues with the league.
“The city obviously hosted a very successful Super Bowl in 2008 and we are very aware of the requirements and what we need to do,” said Interim Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni. “We know what our commitments are and have been working towards meeting all those commitments.”
The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee canceled a planned dinner meeting with Glendale officials and NFL executives that was scheduled Nov. 10. NFL executives were in town to tour venues for any Super Bowl-related events.
Frisoni said the meeting was called off because of unresolved issues between the city and the NFL.
“At this point the (NFL’s issues) revolve around parking and hotel room block and hotels that are not part of the block. We first heard about this when we saw it (in other media outlets).”
The main two concerns the NFL had were with a required 6,000 parking spaces the city is responsible for at any major event at University of Phoenix Stadium. Frisoni said the city heard about the NFL’s concerns from media outlets and once they became aware, they began holding meetings to fix the concerns.
“We have a contractual obligation to supply parking for mega events at the stadium and have done that for seven years now,” Frisoni said. “We usually formalize all parking plans after the Cardinals season is over, but the NFL wanted it done now. So we contacted (Jeff Teetsel) at Westgate for one lot needed (at 91st and Glendale avenues) and immediately got a letter of commitment for those spots.”
Frisoni said once the city found out the NFL wanted the parking issue in writing immediately, the city contacted Teetsel and the issue was resolved quickly.
The second main issue the NFL has mentioned was they want a certain number of hotel rooms committed for the NFL’s use in exchange for a guaranteed rate.
Frisoni said city administrators have met with Glendale hoteliers to urge them to join the bloc of hotels that have committed rooms for the NFL’s use with guaranteed caps on room rates, but they cannot force them to do that.
“The host committee has had discussions with hoteliers at Westgate and some have committed to joining the bloc,” Frisoni said. “But, we can’t force them because they are private businesses that will make decisions based on their business. At the end of the day the city has no authority to demand them to (join the hotel bloc).”
Frisoni said the city has been working toward 2015 and City Manager Brenda Fischer has made outreaches to Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and the council has reached out to him.
“We have had weekly conference calls for the past few months and have been working with the Super Bowl Host Committee, since they are the liaison between the NFL and Glendale,” Frisoni said. “Any issue the NFL has told us about, we have worked hard to fix as soon as it has come up.”
NFL officials have said the popular NFL Experience will be moved to Phoenix and not held at the stadium in Glendale.
“It was always going to be in Phoenix,” Frisoni said. “If you look at our pitch for the game from 2011, it included holding the NFL Experience in Phoenix. While we would love to host it because of the people it brings to the area, we are working with Westgate to host events that will bring foot traffic there during (Super Bowl) week.”
Other signature events, such as the Super Bowl Tailgate Party, the televised NFL Honors awards show and a slate of glitzy parties also are under consideration for different cities, NFL officials said. No decision has yet been made on those events.