A delegation from the Bay Area is scheduled to return Monday evening after attending Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona, where the group took notes and saw firsthand what it will need to do in preparation to host the big game themselves at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara next year.
The group of about 18 people with the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee joined a few dozen public safety officials from San Francisco and Santa Clara on the trip to Glendale, Arizona, to see how that city handled the crowds and attention, host committee spokeswoman Stephanie Martin said.
"After spending three and a half very long days, it was definitely worth it," Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers said. "We learned a lot – it's that we have to start preparing now."
Sellers also pointed out it was valuable to see how federal, state and local agencies worked together in Arizona.
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Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews agreed and emphasized agencies are actually "real people" and close relationships need to be formed – especially since the Bay Area will be spread out even more than the Arizona events in Glendale and Phoenix.
"Working with the NFL, working with Homeland Security, interfacing with the FBI, making sure our local jurisdictions work together smooth and seamlessly such as the VTA," Matthews said. "And to make sure the event is unrivaled."
Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke was also part of the Santa Clara contingent. His lessons learned were similar to what the chief discussed.
"Regionalizing assets – I think it's very important that we reach out to our fellow partners, our "state" partners, our local partners in the region and involve them in the process because it's going to affect all of us," Clarke said.
The Bay Area committee is well into its planning stages at this point after being chosen in 2013 to host the 50th Super Bowl. This will be the second Super Bowl committee staff has attended – they traveled to East Rutherford, New Jersey, last year with a much smaller staff.
The committee attended fireworks shows and the lighting of the Super Bowl roman numerals. They took photos of everything and gathered all the information they can.
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The committee's CEO Keith Bruce has attended numerous Super Bowls, Martin said. Sunday's was his 13th.
Bruce previously was president of San Rafael-based Sportsmark Management Group, a firm that coordinated hospitality programs for the Olympics and the Super Bowl.