The 2012 Super Bowl is still nearly two years away, and Indianapolis civic leaders already are thinking ahead to the next exploit. What should the city that once had more pigeons than people downtown do for an encore?
Don Welsh, who heads the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, hears the question informally.
One idea—hosting a summer Olympics—is unrealistic, Welsh says. The games would overwhelm even Indianapolis’ trademark hospitality, and the cost to build the infrastructure and venues would leave taxpayers just as swamped. The only way Indianapolis could participate in an Olympics would be to work with another city, he says.
Closer to earth, the best shot at another massive event would be hosting a Democratic or Republican national convention, he believes.
Both parties have discussed Indianapolis in recent election cycles, but the conventions have gone to more symbolic places with more influence on votes. A convention would be about as challenging to put on as a Super Bowl, Welsh thinks.
There’s also the possibility of Indianapolis finding its way into the Super Bowl rotation. Put on an outstanding experience in 2012 and the team owners just might opt for a cold-weather location every so often, Welsh says.
First, though, Indianapolis has to pull off the Super Bowl, and the game is nowhere near guaranteed to take place as scheduled. As IBJ reporter Anthony Schoettle has noted, a looming confrontation between owners and the NFL Players Union could torpedo the whole thing.
And, of course, Indianapolis could stumble.
The civic leaders know this. But they’re scheming, anyway.
What do you think about this optimism? Has hubris arrived in humble Indianapolis? Where should Indy go from here?