Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard certainly has some out-of-the box ideas. When it comes to the new 48-acre Indianapolis World Sports Park on the city’s east side, some might even say his ideas are out of this world.
Ballard recently proclaimed that he and his staff are in the process of trying to lure international dignitaries to Indianapolis for the national cricket championship to be played at the World Sports Park in August.
If you’re going to go fishing, I guess you might as well fish for the big ones. So Ballard reached out through the British Consulate to invite Prince William and Kate Middleton to visit the World Sports Park this summer. City officials, however, said William and Kate had to respectfully decline.
Undaunted, city officials said the mayor is putting out invitations to other high-level international dignitaries to see the Indianapolis World Sports Park, which the city paid $6 million last year to construct. The theory being that a visit from a high-level international dignitary (or two) would bring in more publicity for the new facility and the city.
The five multipurpose fields at the new facility are designed for soccer, lacrosse, hurling, rugby, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, in addition to cricket. It is also set up to accommodate 10,000 fans for big events.
Ballard thinks having more facilities like the World Sports Park that appeal to an international audience will help not only draw international visitors to the city but international companies and workers as well.
Already, Ballard insists, the investment in the World Sports Park is paying dividends. A flurry of positive press in places like India, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean nations—plus an agreement with the USA Cricket Association to host the men’s national championship here in 2014, 2015 and 2016—show the World Sports Park is a good investment, Ballard said. Next year’s USACA National Championships will be Aug. 21-24.
Ballard is hopeful that the USACA National Championships is just the type of event that could draw in high-level dignitaries from nations that love cricket.
Selling an international audience on the merits of the World Sports Park might be easier than selling it to Indianapolis residents. Of course, Indianapolis residents are the ones paying for it.