Bowl bid plays up party atmosphere

Anthony Schoettle
May 20, 2008
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ATLANTA-Indianapolis' bid to host the 2012 Super Bowl calls for turning downtown into a big party, complete with massive fire pits to keep revelers warm.

Officials hope to beat out Indianapolis' larger rivals-Phoenix and Houston-in part by casting the city's smaller size as a strength.

"When the Super Bowl comes to Indianapolis, the NFL will own the joint," reads an executive summary of the bid released last night.

And, perhaps feeling the sting of being beaten last year by a larger facility in Dallas, local officials found a way to promise an additional 5,000 seats in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Indianapolis delegation will make its pitch to the 32 NFL owners here today. The city's bid includes creating a $9 million practice facility for the NFC Super Bowl representative on the Arsenal Technical High School campus. The facility would serve as a Super Bowl legacy to help youth on the city's near east side and spur redevelopment in the area. The AFC champion would use the Indianapolis Colts' 56th Street training complex for preparation in the days leading up to the game.

Local officials plan to implore the NFL and local citizens to come together to help revitalize the Tech area.

"That will allow us to leave behind a recreational facility that can change the lives of the children of that school and the entire east-side neighborhood," the summary said. "That would be a legacy as big as the Super Bowl itself."

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White will be instrumental in making today's presentation and will attest to the significance of having the facility at Arsenal.

The bid also calls for creating a Super Bowl Village on Meridian Street from Monument Circle to Georgia Street, and on Georgia Street from Conseco Fieldhouse to the Indiana Convention Center.

Drawings of the village show large columns running down both sides of the streets supporting an ornate roof. They also show huge fire pits to warm event-goers roaming Indianapolis' streets during the February weekend.

Indianapolis officials said the village would be like nothing an NFL Super Bowl weekend has seen before.

In their bid, local officials emphasized that the NFL village would help draw visitors to the league's NFL Experience, an entertainment attraction adjacent to the village.

Local officials said there will be multiple stages within the village for musical and other entertainment shows.

Indianapolis is offering up the 1,786-seat Hilbert Circle Theatre for the high-brow NFL Awards Gala, which is held the Friday before Super Sunday.

The 559-acre Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the proposed site of the larger Friday Night Party, also known as the Commissioner's Party. Saturday night, the bid said, the party will continue on Monument Circle, which would be closed to traffic to host a concert, Mardis-Gras style party and massive fireworks display.

The bid also offers up the NCAA Hall of Champions, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Speedway Pagoda and Indianapolis Zoo for league and sponsor parties and events.

The local bid also stressed Indianapolis' central location, its soon-to-open $1.2 billion midfield airport terminal, its 14,000 downtown hotel rooms - 4,700 of which are connected to Lucas Oil Stadium by indoor walkways - and experience hosting big sporting events, from the Indianapolis 500 to NCAA Final Fours.

"No city in America has hosted more big sporting events in the last 25 years," the bid said. "No brag, just fact."

Local officials promised 74,595 seats in the $725 million Lucas Oil Stadium, nearly 5,000 more seats than previously advertised. Those seats are in addition to the promised 138 luxury suites.


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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.