Super Bowl volunteers? No problem for Indianapolis

Lining up the roughly 8,000 volunteers needed to stage a Super Bowl would be the least of Indianapolis’ worries as civic leaders launch an official bid for the 2011 event, local sports organizers say.


Not only would Indianapolis be able to find warm bodies, but the workers almost certainly would be seasoned veterans of sporting events ranging from the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament to the World Police & Fire Games to races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


“That is a non-issue,” said Susan Williams, president of the not-for-profit Indianapolis Sports Corp. “We do big events year in and year out.”


Ellen Saul, president of event-planning firm Maribeth & Associates Inc., which has handled large-scale events including the 2006 Final Four and the city’s first National FFA convention, also last year, said recruiting the 2,000 needed for the Final Four is a snap.


The Super Bowl would be even easier, Saul said: “There isn’t energy like it for anything else, it seems.”


Milt Thompson, president of the sports consulting firm Grand Slam Cos., estimated 50,000 to 60,000 would volunteer.


Miami needed only 8,000 volunteers for Sunday’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, according to the Web site of the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee.


Indianapolis likely has the deepest roster of sporting-event volunteers in the country, Williams said.


A “hard core” of 5,000 are veterans of a variety of events and specialties including transportation, hotel receptions, community welcomes, Williams said. Another 5,000 volunteer regularly as their schedules allow.


And some of the 36,500 tapped to help host the 1987 Pan Am Games are still working local events, Williams said.


Yesterday, civic leaders announced the creation of Indianapolis 2011 Inc., a not-for-profit that would compete with Arizona, Dallas and possibly New Orleans for the event. NFL owners are expected to decide the location in May.

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