Detroit jump-starts efforts for coming sporting events

DETROIT: The clock had barely run out on Super Bowl XXXIX before a coalition of local civic groups started pumping up excitement for 2006's contest, to be held in Detroit.

DETROIT: The clock had barely run out on Super Bowl XXXIX before a coalition of local civic groups started pumping up excitement for 2006's contest, to be held in Detroit.

Rolled into the effort is promotion for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, which will be held in Detroit this July.

The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is leading the coalition, kicked off the effort with PSAs on seven TV and 20 radio stations, using the tagline, "The world is coming - get in the game."

More PSAs are planned, as are bus tours to spotlight attractions in the Detroit area.

"As each event gets closer, the momentum of the campaign will build," said Carolyn Artman, media relations manager for the visitors bureau.

Detroit PR firm Lovio George is working on the effort.

The city sees the sporting events as opportunities to reshape its image, battered by urban decay and racial strife in recent decades.

The campaign hopes to turn area residents into PR ambassadors for the region, refuting the negative images Detroit still raises for many.

"We're our own best advocates," Artman said.

PR efforts are also turning to the business community. The 600 attendees at the bureau's recent annual meeting were given tool kits with news releases on the events, DVDs of the PSAs, pins, window decals, and facts about Detroit that they can share with visitors to the city during the two sporting events.

The head of the bureau's Economic Development Council plans to address a local PRSA meeting, hoping to build enthusiasm among the local PR community, Artman said.

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