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Indy Super Bowl organizers moving ahead with plans

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Indianapolis organizers expect the 2012 Super Bowl to be played on its original date, despite growing concerns that an NFL work stoppage could force postponement or cancellation of the game.

At a news conference Thursday, host committee officials said they were moving "full-speed" ahead with their plans for Feb. 5, 2012. They outlined a number of initiatives that either have started or will begin in the next several months, and are beginning to line up volunteers for the biggest sporting event Indy has ever hosted.

And it appears everything is on schedule — for now.

"The NFL has instructed us to be ready Feb. 5, 2012, and we will be," host committee president Allison Melangton said. "I get concerned about things that I can control, not something that I can't."

The biggest concern for football fans is a lockout.

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith reiterated Wednesday that he is "100 percent" certain league owners will lock out players before the start of next season. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in March, and Smith often points to the league's television deals, which will pay the owners whether next season's games are played or not.

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, has argued owners will eventually have to pay that money back if games are canceled.

Players are already preparing for the worst.

As early as the summer of 2009, player representatives instructed teammates to start saving additional money for health insurance and living expenses in case of a lockout. Since last week, seven teams, including the Colts, have voted unanimously to decertify the union — a procedural step that would allow the union to continue operating as a group and give players the right to sue owners under an antitrust law that bars boycotts of group organizations.

If the NFLPA does decertify, it is not expected to happen until after this season.

In Indianapolis, the questions are all about the Super Bowl.

Colts owner Jim Irsay and Melangton both acknowledged last month that the league had asked city officials to keep blocks of hotel rooms and city venues open for the original Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 4-5, and the following weekend. League spokesman Brian McCarthy later explained both dates were part of Indy's bid for the game, which was awarded the same day NFL owners decided to opt out of the CBA.

Melangton also said Thursday that although the committee has stayed in frequent contact with league officials about the labor situation, it has not taken out insurance to cover the costs of the game if it is canceled.

"Our job is to be ready to run the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2012, and that's what we're going to do," host committee chairman Mark Miles said. "If it is a week later, we can pick it up and put it down a week later — if that's what you call a contingency plan."

Committee members are monitoring infrastructure and restoration residential projects on the city's near east side, construction of a new educational and wellness center at Tech High School and an indoor bubble at the University of Indianapolis, where the NFC team will practice during Super Bowl week. It has been dubbed the Super Bowl's legacy project.

They are also making entertainment plans for a downtown street, which is getting an $11 million facelift. Organizers are billing the Georgia Street project as Olympic village meets the Super Bowl.

"It's just going to bleed NFL," Miles said. "There will be a lot of people who won't be able to go to the game, so we want this to be a place that Hoosiers can get into the ambiance of the of game, and for our guests, we want to give them something to answer the question: Why play in a cold-weather city?"

The hope is that Georgia Street will become a meeting place for city residents before and after the game. But will the game go on as planned?

"We're taking our lead from the NFL," Melangton said. "Our direction from them is they're planning to have the game, and we're planning to be ready to put it on."

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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