A morning-after question: Now what?

February 6, 2012
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Now what, Indianapolis?

Our collective Super Bowl fever broke overnight, ending five years of hopeful anxiety over hosting the big game. We passed the test.

Super Bowl XLVI has come and gone, and the city didn’t just survive—it thrived thanks to an exceptional combination of mild weather, engaged residents and Hoosier hospitality.

The community undoubtedly will benefit from the experience, but no one can just sit back and wait for the payoff. Lots of work remains—especially for small businesses.

As IBJ reported last month, the NFL’s Emerging Business Program aims to open doors for minority- and women-owned businesses seeking a sliver of Super Bowl spending. And it has, helping local firms land procurement contracts with the league and its affiliates.

But as organizer Marshawn Wolley told the 400-plus companies in Indianapolis’ Emerging Business database time and again, being on the list isn’t a guarantee of financial success. That still requires lots of hard work (and a fair share of good luck).

“There are limited opportunities and nobody is going to get rich,” he said. “We are trying to position businesses beyond the game. It’s what happens afterward that is important.”
So here we are, after the game. The celebrities are gone, the red carpets rolled up. Before long, the Super Bowl will just be another line on Indianapolis’ increasingly impressive resume. Now what?

How can businesses harness the attention and excitement that came from a job done well and turn it into an entrepreneurial success story?

  • Channeling
    I hope after the self-congratulation is over, our city's leaders devote their then available full energies and creativity not to attracting the next big out of town crowd for a sporting contest but rather, channel it to solving Indianapolis's most pressing problems and to making it an absolutely amazing and unparalleled place in which to live for all of its citizens each and every day, rather than (or, if necessary, in addition to) one known for its ability to please visitors with its sports-centered party organizing and executing skills. Anyone can organize and throw a party but solving real problems? Now THAT would be an incredible challenge to which to rise. Time will tell if they bother to take that challenge.
  • Nice place to visit
    Chuck, you are totally right, and I don't mean right-wing. A cit that can't pass a smoking ban, improve public transportation, give equal rights to all its citizens will remain a ncie place to visit but live there?
  • Still a small town
    I just wish the people who "run" things would put the same passion and energy into solving our everyday problems here in Indianapolis and Marion County as they have done for events like the Super Bowl. We need a bus system that servers everyone and runs on a regular dependable schedule!!! We need a rail system that goes to all "four" sides of town not just to downtown and up to the north side. We need upgraded schools and hire our teachers back. We need to pave our streets and not just to spruce them up for "visitors". I don't think that anyone except us noticed that our garbage cans were new and everyone had the same. We are too self conscious about petty things like that and it's a waste of money. The city is still a "small" town but aspiring to be like New York, Chicago or even Cincinnati. And quite frankly we will never be like these cities and that's a good thing!!! So instead of being glad of what we are and improving that we try and be something we will never be. We shouldn't care what other people from other regions think of our "little" town and stop beating ourselves over the head about it and relax!!!
    • Aspiring to be Cincy?
      I just stopped laughing at the comment about us aspiring to be Cincy! What? We are the same size as Cincy and easily are just as nice of city and most would say we are actually ahead of Cincy. It's flat out no contest between the two in terms of quality of downtown, hosting major events, etc. Indy blows Cincy away. Cincy doesn't even host Final Fours, events on the level of the Indy 500, etc. let alone a Super Bowl. There is nothing like Circle Centre in downtown Cincy. We'll never be NYC or Chicago (and shouldn't really aspire to be) but we are also not dreaming of becoming Cincy either.
    • Really
      I guess some fail to see the economic benefits that the leadership was aiming for. Indy can offer all the things you listed simply by increasing personal taxes or they could continue to build an economy that will help support those items by other types of taxes. I'm all for not raising my taxes!!!

      By the way Cincinati is not even comparable to Indy. The population alone of Indy is over twice that of Cincy. Not to mention the geographic size difference.

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    1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

    2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

    3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

    4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

    5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.