Indy opts not to bid on college football championship

Indianapolis leaders have decided that they won’t try to land the College Football Championship Game, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars in potential economic impact for the city.

Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp. and former chief of staff for Mayor Greg Ballard, announced the decision early Friday afternoon.

Vaughn was among the local sports leaders to attend the 2015 championship game in January in Dallas to gauge whether bidding for the event in the 2018-2020 time frame was a good fit for the city.

“The College Football Playoff Championship Game is a tremendous event, one that will continue to grow in the coming years,” Vaughn said in a prepared release. “After analyzing the event and discussions with local partners, Indianapolis will not bid on the event during the current bid cycle.

“The upcoming schedule of sporting events and conventions for Indianapolis is extremely aggressive and exciting. It includes the Big Ten Football Championship Game through 2021, a weekend of activities that we are proud to have played a key role in building into one of the country’s most prominent football events. Our community looks forward to being considered for the CFP Championship Game during a future bid cycle.”

In addition to Indianapolis, representatives from Atlanta, Minneapolis (which beat out Indianapolis for the 2018 Super Bowl), Jacksonville, Houston and San Antonio were in Dallas in January to scout the event.

Interested cities were to receive bid specifications—expected to run 250 pages—in early February. Cities were asked to submit their intent to bid by May.

Vaughn said in January he’d need to be convinced that there was sufficient corporate support in Indianapolis for an effort to host the game before deciding to bid.

Dallas officials estimated the economic impact of January’s game and the three-day run-up would be $308.6 million.

“Candidly that [estimate] seems a little high to me,” Vaughn said in January. “It was a fantastic event and did get great media exposure.”

Glendale, Arizona, is set to host the title game in 2016, and Tampa, Florida, was picked as host in 2017. But 2018 and beyond are up for grabs.

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