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Owners approve Super Bowl for Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2005) -- NFL owners voted to tentatively award Kansas City a Super Bowl, largely as a tribute to owner Lamar Hunt, who gave the game its name.

It comes with one giant string attached: improvements to Arrowhead Stadium, including a rolling roof to keep out the February cold. The team estimates the cost of the roof alone at $100 million to $200 million -- and that's not counting $300 million or so the Chiefs say they need in stadium upgrades.

The approval is for a 10-year window, starting in 2011, but Hunt said the most likely prospects would be for the 49th or 51st Super Bowl, after the 2014 or 2016 seasons.

"This is a very happy day, and in some respects a surprising day," he said at a news conference after the second day of the owners' two-day fall meeting adjourned. "This is something our organization has talked about for a number of years."

The team is now in lease negotiations with Jackson County and hopes to have a sales tax issue on the April ballot for Kansas City residents who live in the county. Last year, a bi-state sales tax proposal, for stadium improvements and arts in the area, failed to gain approval.

The Kansas City Royals, whose Kauffman Stadium sits across a parking lot from Arrowhead, would also have benefited from that tax.

The Chiefs, and other backers of stadium renovations, hope the prospect of landing an event with an estimated $400 million economic impact will provide enough reason to vote "yes" this time.

"The tremendous benefit to Kansas City, both in economic terms and prestige, are beyond calculation," Mayor Kay Barnes said in a written statement.

Jack Steadman, the Chiefs' vice chairman, said lease talks were to resume Nov. 17 and that he hoped they would be completed by December. He said the Chiefs would not specify their financial commitment to the project until negotiations were completed.

Hunt, a founding owner in the American Football League, gave the Super Bowl its name after it began simply as a matchup between the AFL and NFL champions.

"This decision is clearly an indication of the tremendous support the Chiefs have had from their fans in this area, and also the role of Lamar Hunt in the creation of the NFL today and the history of professional football."

Only three Super Bowls have been awarded to cold-weather cities. Detroit will host its second Super Bowl in February, and Minneapolis has hosted one.

"I think a one-off is a correct decision," Hunt said. "My request was for one game, in a 10-year window."

A rolling roof, which could be moved to cover either stadium, was part of the original plans for the Truman Sports Complex. It was designed only to keep out the rain, however.

Steadman said the new plan would allow panels to be lowered from the roof, to provide for a heated interior in cold weather.

"This is a new idea for an old concept," he said.

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