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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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