EDITORIAL: Indianapolis ready for Super Bowl spotlight

January 28, 2012

Anyone who’s ever thrown a party knows the preparation can be a pain. There’s the planning, the cleaning, the shopping and the set-up—not to mention the stress over whether guests will have fun. But by the time the last red Solo cup hits the trash, most hosts are glad they went to the trouble.

Welcome to Indianapolis, home of Super Bowl XLVI, the greatest spectacle in football and the biggest party this city has ever seen.

To their credit, local organizers have been immersed in party prep for years without losing their enthusiasm for the 10-day bash that runs through Feb. 5. Some area residents are channeling the grumpy neighbor, however, griping about the inconveniences that can accompany such revelry.

Our advice: Suck it up and enjoy.

Indianapolis has earn-ed this time in the spotlight, spending decades building the infrastructure—physical and philosophical—to support such a monumental event. And the return on that investment is going to enrich our community for years to come.

We’re not talking about the “economic impact” predictions that raise eyebrows along with expectations. Even if the $300 million estimate proves accurate, the real payoff is even more valuable (and just as difficult to calculate): Indianapolis is finally in the big leagues.

The local corporate community understands that. As Anthony Schoettle reported on page 1 last week, 131 mostly corporate donors gave $28 million to help cover Super Bowl expenses, getting almost nothing in return—during a recession, no less.

“This is a unique, maybe once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to highlight Indianapolis to the rest of the world,” Langham Logistics President Cathy Langham told IBJ. Exactly.

Sure, accommodating the 150,000 visitors expected to turn out for the festivities will affect traffic and parking and happy hour routines, particularly downtown. But when the final whistle blows and the hordes head home, they’ll take with them the knowledge that Indianapolis was up to the task.

And it is. Just ask CNBC sports-business reporter Darren Rovell, who sang the city’s praises on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio show this month. Rovell, who is based in New York and has visited for events like the NCAA Final Four and NFL Combine, called Indianapolis “the best Super Bowl city I’ve ever seen.”

Whether that’s enough to earn the city another NFL championship is almost beside the point. Rovell’s comments are evidence of the eye-opening nature of the Big Game—and we hope a sign of things to come from other visitors discovering Indianapolis for the first time.

The plans are in place, the beer is on ice, and downtown is adorned with more Roman numerals than the Colosseum. Just relax and enjoy the party.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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