Indianapolis is being mentioned as a possible site for the 2011 College World Series, which appears to be in play.
In a recently released list of future NCAA championship events, the 2011 baseball series is listed with no host site beside it. Omaha has a deal to host the event through 2010.
“If the event became open for bid, we’d definitely be interested in taking a look,” said Indiana Sports Corp. spokesman John Dedman. “It’s a major NCAA championship with a very loyal following and a proven record of success.”
Moving the event from Omaha is far from imminent, NCAA officials said.
“The NCAA is in current discussions with the City of Omaha about future options with the College World Series,” said NCAA spokeswoman Gail Dent. “There has not been any discussion about moving the CWS to Indianapolis or any other city.”
Omaha, which has hosted the event since 1950, will get first crack at negotiating for the event, said sources close to the NCAA.
If a deal can’t be reached between Omaha and series officials by year’s end, negotiations likely will be opened to other bidders, sources said.
If the bid is opened, plenty is at stake. A 2003 study conducted by Creighton University estimated the 10-day event held each June had a $33.8 million economic impact on the host city.
Besides Indianapolis and Omaha, Oklahoma City and Orlando are said to be interested.
Though Victory Field holds about 6,500 fewer fans than the 22,000-seat Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, the Indianapolis venue has advantages, including proximity to downtown hotels and restaurants.
Victory Field also features 28 luxury suites, five suite-level party areas, and two large picnic areas.
Omaha officials are so eager to keep the series, they are considering building a new stadium.
Despite Indianapolis leaders’ interest in hosting the lucrative event, Dedman said ISC has not had contact with NCAA officials about bidding for the event. “Our understanding is the bid is not open at this time,” he said.
But Omaha officials appear leery of Indianapolis.
The city’s daily newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald reported today that, “Indianapolis has the reputation of a shark striking when other cities sleep.”
The article cited the city’s luring of the NCAA headquarters from its long-time home in the Kansas City metro area and the move of the Colts from Baltimore in 1984.