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CNHI News Service

January 30, 2012

This year's Super Bowl stadium 'Disney friendly'

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

So the NFL turned to the crowd-pleasing specialists at the Disney Institute for help, Supovitz said. This year, some 20,000 game-day workers – from bus drivers to NFL executives – have been trained in the Disney way of hospitality and crowd management.

Lucas Oil Stadium isn't exactly the Magic Kingdom. But the NFL is doing its best to inject a little more fantasy into the fan experience.

Despite massive security measures that have to be put into place before game day, the NFL is encouraging fans to take a Super Bowl-makeover tour of the stadium.

Tour tickets, priced from $15 to $30, will get fans access to a place where the public has never been allowed: The locker room and showers of the Indianapolis Colts. On Super Bowl game day, it will be the locker room of the Colts’ arch rival, the New England Patriots.

Fans can also plunk down $25 for a pass into media day on Jan. 31. That buys them a seat in the stadium stands to watch a media circus as some 5,000 credentialed reporters pester Super Bowl players and coaches for interviews. It's the first time that Super Bowl media day has been open to the public.

Lucas Oil Stadium is dwarfed by the 100,000-plus seat Cowboys Stadium. But the NFL decided that size doesn't matter much this year. The NFL has pushed Lucas Oil stadium's capacity from 63,000 to 68,000, but only 254 of that is in temporary seating. The rest will come from filling up the large luxury suites and packing the media into overflow press boxes.

The NFL is also beefing up its two-way communication system for stadium workers, so they can execute a quick response to a crisis, large or small. And they've added an additional 500 customer-service specialists, in and around the stadium, supplementing the 4,000-plus "street team" volunteers supplied by the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

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