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With six months to go, here's how planning for Super Bowl XLIII is going

Expect to hear more and more in the coming months about the 2009 Super Bowl. Planning for the game, scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at Raymond James Stadium, and parties and events during the week before started more than a year ago. Things will soon get even busier. Here's a quick look at where it all stands, six months out.

Time to pony up the cash

Local Super Bowl organizers say they need $12-million to stage the event and are 70 percent of the way there. But some of the money is merely committed and not yet cash.

The Tampa Bay Super Bowl Planning Task Force opened offices and hired staff using $3.75-million from state and Pinellas and Hillsborough county coffers.

Announced corporate sponsors include Media General (owners of the Tampa Tribune), Gerdau Ameristeel, Raymond James, Yale Trucks, Forward Air and AT&T.

Sign me up

More than 5,400 people have volunteered to help with the Super Bowl since April. Planners want 6,000 names.

Volunteers will greet visitors at the airport and hotels, and assist at the NFL Experience, a football-themed amusement park open the week before game day.

To sign up, go to www. tampabaysuperbowl.com.

Where's the party?

The locations of most parties haven't been announced yet.

But the Super Bowl Saturday Night, a free concert and fireworks sponsored by the NFL, is set for Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, and the Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Concert Series will be at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa.

Celine Dion will play a concert at the St. Pete Times Forum on Jan. 28, though that was scheduled in advance of Super Bowl planning. However, the Lightning worked with the NHL to schedule two games — against the Canadiens and Flyers — during Super Bowl week.

Two NFL charity events also have been scheduled: A bowling tournament at Pin Chasers on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa and a golf tournament at Innisbrook.

Room service, please

The AFC team will stay at the Intercontinental Hotel at Kennedy and West Shore boulevards in Tampa. The NFC team will stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on the Tampa side of the Courtney Campbell Parkway. The Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa is the NFL headquarters.

Getting into gear

Details of transportation plans around the stadium are still being hammered out, but at least one option includes closing portions of Dale Mabry Highway and Himes Avenue on game day. That's to accommodate a 300-foot security perimeter around the stadium.

Construction on Interstate 275 won't be done, but work sites will be shut down and cleaned up in the days leading up to the game.

Best face forward

No planting has started, but Tampa city officials have developed plans to gussy up roadways and intersections everywhere from around the University of South Florida to Ybor City, Bayshore Boulevard, the airport and South Howard neighborhood.

With six months to go, here's how planning for Super Bowl XLIII is going 08/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:10pm]

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