When Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, sat down with the Super Bowl planning committee in Detroit in 2004, she had a decision to make. Detroit’s mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce asked Kerr whether Ann Arbor was interested in being a “Super City” for Super Bowl XL, which will be played next Sunday in Detroit.

“We immediately said, ‘Why not?’ ” Kerr said. “We knew going into it that we wanted to have a lot of community support.”

But it wasn’t just community support that Kerr was interested in.

The Super Bowl brings a lot of business to local restaurants and bars, but Kerr was more interested in long-term benefits. She worked with Dennis Doyle, marketing and sales director at the bureau as well as local corporations to make an advertisement of Ann Arbor’s technological side. According to Kerr, 65 percent of guests at the Super Bowl are top decision-makers in their companies, and the bureau wanted to show off what Ann Arbor has to offer.

In the Super Bowl guide that will be in hotel rooms around the region, there is a four-page advertisement emphasizing the city’s high-tech possibilities and successful technical companies such as Pfizer.

“We felt this was a great opportunity to have a long-term impact and develop an image of Ann Arbor as a high-tech city – and also for its quality of life,” Kerr said.

Kerr said when Ann Arbor was selected as a Super City, she talked with people in Houston and Jacksonville – the sites of the last two Super Bowls.

Both areas saw tremendous growth after the game, she said.

“Now, we’re not the host city,” she said. “But we’re hoping it will spill over.”

Dana Jones, vice president of tourism at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, just 60 miles from Jacksonville, said the impact to the Putnam County economy has certainly been noticeable. One of the events they put on last year was a VIP bass fishing tournament with NFL celebrities – an event that brought an estimated $500,000 to the local economy. The county is holding the second annual event this weekend, and Jones expects the economic impact to again be similar.

Jones said she has noticed a large increase in the number of people looking to buy or rent property in the area.

“People didn’t realize what we had to offer until they came to the Super Bowl,” Jones said.

Kerr and the bureau are hoping that people will similarly be impressed with what Ann Arbor has to offer, whether it be restaurants, college sports or a high-tech hub for companies.

In all, southeastern Michigan has eight Super Cities. The title requires cities to guarantee a certain number of hotel rooms and to provide entertainment for guests.

There are three criteria for being named a Super City: a vibrant downtown, a concentration of hotels and a proven track record of hosting events. Kerr said Ann Arbor has all three, and she wants visitors to enjoy the restaurants and nightlife available downtown.

In addition to general nightlife at local restaurants and bars, the bureau has planned a handful of events to make the stay in Ann Arbor more rewarding for Super Bowl guests. It worked with the University’s athletic department to organize tours of Michigan Stadium and planned an ice-carving competition.

The bureau organized a “Blues Cruise” around downtown bars and a “Cappuccino Crawl” as well. Probably the most visible activity is “Pigskins on Parade” – 12 giant, painted footballs displayed around the city.

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