For the last couple of days the Unfair Park in-box has been filling up with missives subject-headed "Mayor Mike Moncrief and Ed Bass to Make Announcement." That announcement came this a.m.: ESPN will not only set up its production HQ in Sundance Square, but ESPN the Magazine will also plant its NEXT wingding in Fort Worth -- a party that attracted some 3,000 bold-faced names to the Fontainebleau in Miami in February. The venue will be announced later this year.
The Official Release from ESPN/Disney follows. But Moncrief is super-excited: "I can not think of a better partner for Fort Worth than ESPN. Super Bowl week is going to be very special for our citizens and ESPN will add to the excitement. We welcome the ESPN team into our family." To which Bass adds, "As the cultural heart of the city, Sundance Square offers the perfect location, availability of space, and built-in audience where ESPN can interact with our visitors. ESPN will benefit from this dynamic urban environment and Fort Worth will be showcased as a vibrant, authentic, and diverse city to millions of people across the country."
I blame this on the lack of free parking in downtown Dallas.
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ESPN to Make Downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square Home
During Super Bowl XLV in North Texas
ESPN has chosen Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, as its production headquarters for Super Bowl XLV. The announcement was made this morning at Sundance Square with Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, Sundance Square developer Ed Bass, and ESPN senior coordinating producer Stephanie Druley, who will oversee ESPN's weeklong Super Bowl coverage, beginning Monday, January 31, 2011.
In all, more than 80 hours of ESPN television coverage, as well as ESPN Radio shows, and other related content across ESPN's multimedia platforms will be based out of Sundance Square. All on-site telecasts will be open for free public viewing.
"I can not think of a better partner for Fort Worth than ESPN," said Mayor Moncrief. "Super Bowl week is going to be very special for our citizens and ESPN will add to the excitement. We welcome the ESPN team into our family."
ESPN selected Sundance Square for its ability to showcase the historic Tarrant County Courthouse, skyscrapers and the notable settings in and around Sundance Square. ESPN will construct a large outdoor set in the Chisholm Trail lot at the heart of Sundance Square with Richard Haas' three-story trompe l'oeil The Chisholm Trail mural as the backdrop. A separate ESPN Radio set and a demonstration field will also be built in this area. Equipment and production trucks will sit adjacent to the Chisholm Trail lot on the parking lot near the Flying Saucer.
Some of ESPN's most popular programs will originate from Sundance Square throughout the week, including daily editions of Mike & Mike in the Morning, SportsCenter, NFL Live, a special three-hour edition of Sunday NFL Countdown on Super Bowl Sunday, and more. Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski, Keyshawn Johnson, Suzy Kolber, Stuart Scott, Hannah Storm, Trey Wingo and Steve Young are among the many on-air commentators expected to be featured throughout Super Bowl week, along with top guests from the world of sports and entertainment. Program schedules will be released at a later date and all shows will be open for public viewing.
"This is one of the biggest broadcasting opportunities we have ever hosted," said Bass. "As the cultural heart of the city, Sundance Square offers the perfect location, availability of space, and built-in audience where ESPN can interact with our visitors. ESPN will benefit from this dynamic urban environment and Fort Worth will be showcased as a vibrant, authentic, and diverse city to millions of people across the country."
ESPN the Magazine has also chosen Fort Worth as the site for its annual NEXT event, one of Super Bowl week's top parties. ESPN the Magazine will announce the event venue later this year.
ESPN's Super Bowl week coverage from Ft. Worth will be seen and heard across ESPN's many domestic networks - including in Spanish on ESPN Deportes - and available in more than 100 countries and territories via ESPN International. In addition, ESPN Radio 103.3, the wholly-owned ESPN property based in Dallas-Ft. Worth and one of 750 ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide, will broadcast from Sundance Square during the week.
"The city and business leaders from Fort Worth and Sundance Square have welcomed ESPN with open arms, and we are thrilled that our production headquarters, ESPN The Magazine's NEXT party and other related events will originate from this world-class destination throughout the week of Super Bowl XLV," said ESPN Executive Vice President John Skipper.
Super Bowl XLV will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011.