Indy should cheer for Jets and Bears, Badgers and Huskers

September 26, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Gauging the economic impact of any sporting event is tricky.

When it’s uncertain who the teams will be, it’s even trickier.

Most economists and sports business experts would agree the economic impact of the Super Bowl and Big Ten Football Championship will be considerable.

Estimates peg the economic impact of the Big Ten Championship at $17 million to $20 million. The Super Bowl is much larger, with an economic impact of $300 million to $450 million.

The more savvy sports business followers will tell you that the teams that play in those games will have a major impact on the visitor spending those events bring to the host city.

Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Big Ten Championship in December and the Super Bowl in February. In this week’s IBJ print edition, Robert Tuchman, whose New York-based company has handled corporate entertainment at scores of Super Bowls, estimated that the economic impact on Indianapolis could swing more than 30 percent depending on the teams that play.

Most sports business experts surveyed by IBJ agreed that the best teams to make it from the NFC would be the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears and Lions are ideal due to their proximity to Indianapolis. Detroit also is good because it has never played in a Super Bowl, and the theory is that many Lions fans would come to Indianapolis just to experience the atmosphere even if they couldn’t get tickets. And as Tuchman pointed out, they eat in Indy’s restaurants, shop in our stores and sleep in our hotels whether they go to the game or not.

Mark Rosentraub, a dean at the University of Michigan, said that if the Lions make the Super Bowl, half the state of Michigan would drive down to Indianapolis.

The Bears and Cowboys would be good teams because they have national followings. Also, the Cowboys haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1996, and Big D is hungry for a winner.

Demographics, too, are key, and there are plenty of wealthy people in Chicago and Dallas. That element probably hurts Detroit a bit with the auto industry fallout.

The AFC is a little trickier.

The consensus is the New York Jets would be the best team. First, because New York is so big, the Jets have a huge following. There’s also lots of money in New York, and on top of that, the Jets haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1969.

While there’s money in New England, Patriots fans spoiled by four Super Bowls in the last decade simply don’t travel like fans for other AFC hopefuls, and people in that New England region aren’t likely to come to Indy in February—certainly not without tickets just to enjoy the atmosphere.

Baltimore fans traveled in droves to Tampa when the Ravens made the Super Bowl in 2001. But there’s still a big question about whether Ravens fans would to travel to Indy, the city that stole its beloved Colts. Most sports business experts think Ravens fans would overlook the Colts history for a shot to see the Ravens in the big game again.

As witnessed Sunday night, Pittsburgh fans have no hesitation to make the drive to Indy for a football game, and the Steelers have a national following. But since the Steelers made the Super Bowl last year, that takes a little polish off that possibility.

So if Indianapolis’ tourism and hospitality industry were rooting for Super Bowl contenders based merely on economic impact, everyone from bar managers to bell hops might be decked out in green and white or blue and orange.

As for the Big Ten Championship game, one local tourism official told me red might be the color to cheer for.

A match-up between Wisconsin and Nebraska has a lot of people in Indianapolis pretty excited right now—from an economic impact perspective.


Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....