DENVER (AP) – It’s not cheap playing host for a national political spectacle like a presidential debate.

The University of Denver will pay $1.65 million for the honor of hosting the first presidential debate next year. University officials said Monday the fee by the Commission on Presidential Debates is well worth the expense.

“It’s going to generate tremendous visibility,” said DU Chancellor Robert Coombe. He said students would get first dibs on any seats given to the school, providing a breathtaking learning event for the school.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined DU officials for the announcement Monday afternoon and said the city would help with any additional expenses for hosting such a crucial event.

“I think it is something very monumental,” Hancock said, wearing a white DENVER baseball cap.

The debate Oct. 3 will be at the Magness Arena, which can seat up to 8,000 people. School officials said they don’t know yet the debate setup and how many seats will be available. The school gets an allotment and said first priority will be DU students.

Hancock said next year’s debate will be first presidential debate in Colorado history. He pointed out that in 2008, Denver successfully played host for the Democratic National Convention.

Hancock didn’t have an immediate economic impact estimate. But he said he expected some 3,000 journalists alone would travel to Denver for the debate.

“We’ve always believed that we were a world-class city. I think we proved it to the world in August of 2008,” Hancock said, referring to the convention.

The other debates between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger will take place Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

The vice presidential debate is set for Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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