Super Bowl XLI Expected to Include Most Press Credentials Ever

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By: Joe Strupp

There will be more media at Super Bowl XLI in Miami next week than for any previous championship game in the league’s history, one NFL official said Thursday. And much of the increase is due to the continued growth of online coverage.

“We would expect to issue more media credentials for this Super Bowl than ever before,” said Michael Signora, director of media relations for the NFL. “Based on the numbers we are seeing, the tremendous interest in media that cover each of these teams.”

So far, some 3,200 media credentials have been approved, Signora said. But as local newspapers and media outlets from Illinois and Indiana, where the two teams are based, add requests, he estimates the final total will likely surpass 3,400.

“We have seen it rise and it has risen this year,” Signora said about the demand. “There are things online and increased TV that we didn’t have in the past. The numbers are up. More and more, the number of people each newspaper sends is growing, and that very well may include online.”

With the Chicago Bears coming from a major media market, which includes two large daily papers, and the Indianapolis Colts drawing interest from many smaller papers in Indiana, as well as the Indianapolis Star, Signora says the demand from those two areas alone is larger. Add to that the Web-related reporting that both traditional and non-traditional media are doing and the push to get access is more than in the past.

So far, the Chicago Tribune appears to lead the newspaper credentialing demand with 17, while its cross-town rival the Chicago Sun-Times has 10, Signora said. The Indianapolis Star, meanwhile, has been allotted 10. But Signora said those numbers can change.

Associated Press, which has routinely sent 12 people to the game, is expecting to have the same number this year, said Sports Editor Terry Taylor. But she said the news organization will have its first Super Bowl blogger, who will begin filing a daily blog on Monday and post the first-ever AP blog during the game. “We will blog every day and on game day blog throughout the game,” she said. “It is the first time somebody is devoted just to online.”

Signora said he was unable to break out exactly how many of the credentialed media were for Web-only reporters. But he said the NFL has been credentialing Web-only news outlets for several years, as long as “they are major Web sites whose primary job is covering news.”

Dolphins Stadium, where the Feb. 4 game will be played, will include three indoor press seating areas, along with several sections being built over regular seats for this particular game, Signora said.

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