The Fundamentals of a World-class Sports City
With the 2012 Super Bowl looming in the not-so-distant future, I made a point to check out the Big Ten Football Championship Game last weekend. It was like a dry run, revealing whether Indianapolis would be ready for the big time.
Like a championship team, Indy did not disappoint. In my estimation, there are five reasons Indianpolis won, and won big.
a.k.a. The Fundamentals of a World-class Sports City
- A good game plan. Infrastructure improvements were evident. The Georgia Street outdoor village looks great; the expanded Convention Center was packed, yet accessible; and downtown hotels, restaurants, and bars were handling huge crowds well.
- Practice. Having hosted more 500 major sporting events during the past twenty-five years, according to the ICVA, Indianapolis knows this drill. Fans flowed easily from one event to the next.
- Look Sharp. All athletes want to look their best of game day, and downtown was no different. Everywhere you looked, you saw signs for Big Ten events and fans, and, even more important, no construction zones!
- Communicate. The Big Ten provided information officers in many of the downtown hotels to answer questions for out-of-town fans on where to go and what to do. Plus, this is Indiana, where Hoosier Hospitality runs deep. Fans knew to just start asking passersby and an answer was quick to follow.
- Dictate the Pace of the Game. There was never a dull moment. From impromptu pep-ralleys on Georgia Street, to the smartly designated bars and restaurants for each of the fan bases, downtown was strategically mapped out in clusters of Red and Green.
The atmosphere surrounding the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship was so intoxicating, I ended grabbing a few tickets from a wishful Nebraska fan and watched as Lucas Oil Stadium came alive during the see-saw title game. I just wish I could score tickets for the Super Bowl so easily.