NFL exec tours city, checks on Super Bowl preparations

June 4, 2010

National Football League Senior Vice President Frank Supovitz—the league’s point person on Super Bowl planning—is in town to tour the city and examine its preparations for the 2012 Super Bowl.

It’s Supovitz’s first visit to Indianapolis since he toured the city and discussed planning with 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee members last June.

Last summer, Supovitz told a gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Station that the city was “far ahead” of schedule in planning for the 2012 event. He added that despite the swooning economy, he didn’t believe the city’s financing of the event would be a problem, noting that $25 million had already been pledged from local private funders.

Supovitz is scheduled to make a public address and answer questions from local media Friday at 3 p.m. at the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful headquarters, 1029 Fletcher Ave.

This week, Supovitz toured the Super Bowl legacy project on the city’s east side, Lucas Oil Stadium and Indiana Convention Center as well as the University of Indianapolis, where the NFC Championship team will work out.

Supovitz has met and was meeting Thursday and Friday with Mark Miles, local Super Bowl host committee chairman, and Allison Melangton, the host committee’s CEO, along with Indiana Sports Corp. President Susan Williams and Susan Baughman, ISC senior vice president of event management and other local officials.

“This helps us put more meat on the bones of our plans,” said Dianna Boyce, 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee communications director. “These meetings allow us to bring [Supovitz] up to speed on what we’re doing here and allow us to get input on things we need to work on.”

Supovitz took an in-depth tour Thursday of the University of Indianapolis campus where the NFC champion will work out while here for the Super Bowl. The AFC champion will work out at the Indianapolis Colts training complex on the city’s northwest side.

Original plans called for the domed practice facility to be built at Arsenal Tech High School on the near-east side as part of a larger neighborhood revitalization project. But local Super Bowl committee members chose to team with UIndy, largely because it had already slated to break ground on an indoor, multi-purpose sports facility. Work on that project began in May.

UIndy has budgeted about $6 million for the practice facility. Bringing it up to NFL specifications could cost the committee an additional $1 million, which would be much less than building a new facility at Tech, Miles said.

Miles said the committee also chose UIndy because such a large structure would not have blended well with the near-east-side neighborhood.

The dome that has been in the planning stages for three years will be built on the northeastern corner of the UIndy campus, near the football stadium. It will be large enough to house an indoor football field, as well as an attached, 20,000-square-foot building with coaches’ offices, meeting rooms and training facilities.

Tech High School and the surrounding neighborhood still will benefit from the city’s Super Bowl, and Supovitz got a detailed report and tour of activities there. The committee unveiled plans in April for its $11.2 million, so-called “legacy project,” which includes a 27,000-square-foot, $6 million community center on the Tech campus.

The facility will host the NFL Youth Education Town during the Super Bowl and will provide neighborhood programs and youth-development activities in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools.

A major part of the city’s bid to host the game is the NFL’s legacy project. The aim is to spur redevelopment on the city’s blighted near-east side by rehabbing or building about 300 housing units and constructing the community center at Arsenal Tech.

About four in 10 houses are unoccupied in the neighborhood, which is bounded by Interstate 70 to the north, Washington Street to the south, Interstate 65 to the west and Emerson Avenue to the east.

ISC’s Williams, along with Melangton and Miles, gave Supovitz a detailed update on that project this week. ISC’s Baughman detailed plans on downtown infrastructures and activities, including the planned Super Bowl village.

The Super Bowl is expected to generate a one-time economic boost of more than $300 million for the city, including more than $30 million in state and local tax revenue, according to Ball State University’s Bureau of Business Research.

One major issue hanging over the 2012 Super Bowl is the collective bargaining agreement between the league’s players and owners. The current deal expired after last season, with a provision to play the upcoming season without a salary cap.

The league’s 32 team owners have said that if a new deal with players is not worked out by August 2011, the players likely will be locked out. Owners are asking players for significant salary and contract concessions. If the issue is not resolved before the 2011-12 season begins, the season and Super Bowl could be delayed or even cancelled.

Supovitz is expected to address the possibility of a lock-out and contingency plans should the 2012 Super Bowl get postponed or cancelled. That could be a sticky issue for the city, which has invested millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours already to host the event.

The NFL has already awarded Super Bowl to New Orleans in 2013 and East Rutherford, N.J., in 2014.


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