Miami feels slighted by Super Bowl telecast's rare mentions

MIAMI — This time, the Super Bowl weather conspired in South Florida's favor. As the Mid-Atlantic dug out from a historic blizzard, a television audience expected to top 100 million people saw a far different climate as a mild, cloudless evening greeted football's biggest game.

It was an about face from Super Bowl's last trip to South Florida, when a rare and relentless February downpour drenched the stands in 2007.

"I couldn't have fixed that better myself,'' Tony Goldman, a South Beach hotelier and former chairman of the Greater Miami tourism bureau, aid of the weekend snowstorm and cold snap. "I'm in New York. It's about 17 degrees.''

Even so, viewers of Sunday night's broadcast could be forgiven if they forgot where this Super Bowl was played. Announcers mentioned the word "Miami'' only a handful of times. And the first live shot CBS showed outside of Sun Life Stadium was not of South Beach or a palm tree, but of Bourbon Street in the moments after New Orleans won the championship.

For a game that will cost local taxpayers more than $6 million, Super Bowl has always touted itself as a good investment for the exposure it brings a host city.

``You read the stories about how much those commercials sell for,'' said Peter Yesawich, chairman of Y Partnership, an Orlando firm that manages tourism campaigns in cities throughout Florida. ``Destinations kill for that.''

This year the publicity took on more importance as South Florida considers a proposal to spend tax dollars to make Sun Life Stadium a more attractive venue for the Super Bowl. Without a partial roof and other improvements costing about $200 million, the Miami Dolphins warn that it will be harder to lure the Super Bowl to South Florida -- robbing the destination of both the tourist dollars the game brings and the free publicity it spawns.

This year, more than 4,500 members of the media from 22 countries received Super Bowl credentials, organizers said. ESPN, NFL Networks and the CBS Early Show broadcast live from South Beach in the days leading up to the game. A pack of celebrities making the weekend Super Bowl party circuit generated untold inches of gossip-column fodder.

But when Super Bowl actually kicked off Sunday evening, viewers saw the game and basically nothing else.

When the playing stopped, CBS filled the gaps with quick segments on the teams and shots from the sidelines -- viewers didn't even get glances of celebrities sitting in the stands.

And with a 30-second Super Bowl spot selling for more than $2 million, CBS apparently did not want to waste lucrative time reminding viewers where the game was played. During the game, there were no shots of South Florida scenery -- shots that can turn a sporting event into a rolling tourism commercial.

``In the past, we've had those great cutaways,'' said Bruce Turkel, a partner at the Turkel advertising agency in Coconut Grove. ``But I guess every moment is too precious now.''

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