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HANDOFF TO TAMPA STARTS SUPER BOWL RUSH

Arizona's chairman says getting $13-million from the private sector was a challenge.

With a measure of relief, Arizona's Super Bowl host committee handed the game off Monday to planners of the 2009 Super Bowl, which will be played in Tampa.

"It's been an incredible experience," says Michael Kennedy, chairman of the Arizona group.

After 18 months of preparing for weeks of events that culminated in Sunday's game, he said he was glad it was over.

"I am really happy to know you are on the clock, and we are off the clock," he said to Reid Sigmon, executive director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee.

In the postgame analysis, Kennedy said the biggest difficulty was coming up with $17-million to pay for Super Bowl activities. The budget included $4-million in state funding, and $13-million from the private sector.

"People are adjusting to the economic downturn," he said. "We got it done, but it probably would qualify as a challenge."

Sigmon said Tampa has a $12-million budget, with $4-million coming from local tourist development taxes and a state grant. Those figures do not include in-kind services such as police protection from local governments.

So far, Sigmon said, the Tampa host committee has raised about $2-million toward its $8-million private sector goal.

"We feel good about where we are and the prospects we have for the next few months," he said.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

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