By Barry Shlachter, Scott Nishimura and Sandy Baker
Star-Telegram Staff Writers
ESPN’s choice of Fort Worth as the network’s Super Bowl XLV headquarters and Sundance Square as its beachhead has Fort Worth hotels waiting to see what groups the National Football League assigns them.
The Renaissance Worthington hotel, near the Chisholm Trail parking lot where the network will set up its broadcast pavilion, learned Tuesday that the NFL assigned 75 rooms in the hotel to ESPN for the peak Super Bowl period, said Jim Gabler, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. And the NFL may assign more rooms in the Worthington to ESPN, Gabler said.
“Discussions will now ensue directly with ESPN as to which contingent of their entourage will be staying here and elsewhere,” he said.
The hotel also learned that the NFL assigned a 200-room block in the 504-room Worthington to another group, which Gabler did not identify. “I have not had a chance to have a conversation with them yet,” he said.
Gabler expects ESPN to take rooms elsewhere in downtown Fort Worth as well as outside the central business district. Production crews that need to be in town longer than just the peak four-day weekend may be assigned to longer-stay inns, he said, but that has yet to be determined.
Dallas-Fort Worth hotels agreed to set aside 24,000 rooms with four-night minimums as part of North Texas’ bid to win the Super Bowl, set for Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The NFL assigns blocks of rooms to groups from the league, teams, sponsors, media and others. Hotels that get assignments must follow up to secure contracts by Sept. 1.