IBJNews

Big Ten football championship sells out, packs downtown hotels

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Saturday’s Big Ten Football Championship game is shaping up to be the biggest moneymaker in the event’s three-year history at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Attendance for the game pitting nationally ranked No. 2 Ohio State Uiversity and No. 10 Michigan State University is expected to be 65,000-plus—24,000 more than last year when unranked University of Wisconsin met No. 14 University of Nebraska.

Attendance for this year’s game is also expected to top the inaugural game in 2011 when just more than 64,000 watched Wisconsin beat Michigan State.

Tickets for this year’s game have been sold out for weeks, and although game organizers aren’t saying how many of the 137 LOS suites are available, three ticket brokers told IBJ only four remained vacant as of Wednesday.

“This is by far the most demand we’ve had for tickets for a Big Ten football championship,” said Renny Harrison, managing partner for Indianapolis ticket broker Fanfare Tickets. “This is the type of demand we thought we’d have when the Big Ten first announced the event was coming to Indianapolis.”

Ticket brokers said 65 percent to 80 percent of ticket buyers for this year’s game are supporters of Ohio State, which is playing for a chance to compete in the BCS national championship game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand from the Ohio State faithful since they were on probation last year,” said Mike Peduto, partner in Indianapolis-based Circle City Tickets. “The demand was already good, but when Ohio State beat Michigan last week, our phones really lit up, and that has pushed demand up even higher.”

Tickets for the game have a face value of $90 to $175, but on the secondary market, ticket brokers reported the range is between $140 to $600.

“That’s certainly a lot better than last year when we were selling tickets for the game for $50,” Peduto said. “Some ticket brokers last year took a bath.”

Ticket brokers aren’t the only ones cashing in this year. Hoteliers also are seeing a big uptick in business.

“Though we won’t have the exact numbers for two weeks, this weekend’s downtown hotel occupancy appears to be a virtual sellout," with hotels as far out as Columbus helping fill demand, said Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl.

Last year, downtown hotels had an occupancy rate of 86.1 percent on the Friday before the game and 96.5 percent on the Saturday the game was played, according to Visit Indy. That means about 1,250 more hotel rooms—in downtown alone—have been sold this year compared to last year. Local hospitality experts think at least 4,000 more hotel rooms across central Indiana have been sold this year for the Big Ten championship than were sold a year ago.

“We’re hearing from a lot of our clients that are asking about hotel rooms,” Peduto said. “They’re telling us they’re going to be staying at least one night.”

All those extra visitors and extended stays add up.

“We are estimating $15 million in economic impact to be generated by this weekend’s event, up from an estimated $12 million in 2012,” Gahl said.

Attendance and interest in the game is also being fueled by new features associated with the game, said Indiana Sports Corp. spokesman John Dedman.

ESPN’s "College GameDay" will broadcast live from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday on the Pan Am Plaza—a first for the game. Several new attractions have also been added to festivities along Georgia Street including live music on Friday and an eating contest on Saturday.

“We’re having a two-day tailgate party on Georgia Street, and we’ve added some programming that’s drawing quite a bit of attention,” Dedman said. “We expect thousands of fans to come and watch ESPN’s 'GameDay' on Saturday morning, and tens of thousands more to visit Georgia Street and Big Ten Fan Fest at the Indiana Convention Center. Downtown is going to be packed this weekend for sure.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • B1G attendance
    It's more about the power of the Buckeye fanbase, this game could be played anywhere against anyone and we sell it out.
  • O-H-I-O
    GO BUCKS!!
  • Great news for Indy
    There were many comments last year that the game should be in Chicago, since "no one wants to come to Indy". Just goes to show if you have a meaningful game, people will come. Indy wins!
    • Go White!
      Joey Chestnut and Spartan Dawgs go home victorious.
    • Go Green!
      Ready for a Sparty Party!

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

    2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

    3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

    4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

    5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

    ADVERTISEMENT