NFL Combine, Ice smash records

February 25, 2008
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                              photoIt was a big weekend in Indianapolis. A record 420 credentialed media poured into town to report on the NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome, while a 2007-08 league-high 12,575 fans filed into Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday for the Indiana Ice’s Pack the House Night, pushing the team near the top of the U.S. Hockey League in attendance.

ESPN’s football analyst John Clayton said the media presence at the Combine has grown tremendously over the last decade and shows no signs of abating. Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based Sportscorp, said the Combine is just one of many unsung events that puts a favorable national spotlight on Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, the Ice’s first of two games at Conseco Fieldhouse attracted the largest crowd this season--by far--in the USHL, a top-tier amateur league for aspiring National Hockey League players.

The Ice were third in the 12-team league in attendance heading into Saturday’s game, but Ice President Michael Schupay said the Fieldhouse game should push them into second. By the time the division-leading Ice play their second game at the Fieldhouse April 5, Schupay thinks the Ice will be pushing the Lincoln, Neb., franchise for the USHL attendance lead.

The Indiana Ice have built a following here since the team was founded in 2004 by Paul Skjodt, who bought the assets of the Indianapolis Ice, a minor-league team that folded that same year. This year, the Ice are averaging more than 3,200 per game, which is only slightly behind attendance averages during the Indianapolis Ice era. The amateur team does attract some of the city’s hardcore hockey fans from the old Ice days, but there’s also a new following, team officials said. The Ice expect average attendance to climb near 4,000 as the team pursues the USHL championship in April.

“We have a big following among young adults ages 19-27 and a big following among families,” Schupay said.
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  • It's too bad not many people in this town attend Indiana Ice games. There is never a lack of effort from these kids. This year's team is very talented and has a good chance to win the USHL championship. Maybe what is more important is that 20 out of 23 players on this team have secured Division 1 college scholarships. That is truly amazing.
  • I don't attend the games because I never know when they are, where they play, how much it is and what time it starts. I don't think they have done a good job advertising. I am all over this town and don't really see anything except for around the fairgrounds. I wouldn't mind going though, but without something reminding me its around, I won't even go to the website. Hell, I hear more advertising for the NapTown Roller Girls Derby league and have gone to three of their bouts.

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  1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.

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