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Kansas City a Super Bowl site pending a roof

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- NFL owners voted Wednesday 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 Thursday 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," said NFL commissioner Paul
Tagliabue.

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.