The reason Indy works so well for large events such as Super Bowls, Final Fours and other major basketball/football games is because our downtown is perfectly suited for it. All the major hotels are within walking distance of both Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium with plenty of bars, restaurants and shopping options along the way. It’s a compact, clean, safe and bustling downtown that is easy for out-of-towners to navigate.
At first blush, people thought Indy was a peculiar choice for one of the largest media events in the world. But the numbers don’t lie. Super Bowl XLVI was won of the most successful in recent years. And best of all, the local businesses reaped major rewards. Well, if you were in downtown Indianapolis, I suppose.
Because there was so much excitement and such a crush of people in the Super Bowl Village along Georgia Street—to say nothing of the popular zip line attraction—the outlying bars and restaurants probably didn’t do as well as they had hoped. I’m sure the hotels were booked solid, but everyone wanted to be in the Village. 2018 planners will have to take that into consideration.
Another factor we can’t count on: weather. It was unseasonably warm this past February. More than likely, that led to the larger crowds.
How will 2018 planners retain the numbers from 2012? I only have a couple suggestions:
1) Spread out the downtown attractions. I think organizers and fans agree it was a great atmosphere downtown, but too crowded. The area needs to widen out by a one or two streets in every direction. It was great to meander through the bars, concerts and throng of people. But no one likes to feel like a sardine.
2) Bring even more “atmosphere” to the street. There needs to be a little bit more to Super Bowl Village. It was fun to wander with brew in hand, but it seems like we could do a little more down there to enhance the experience. I’m not sure what that is, but it needs a little something.
If I’m still living in Indy when we get this Super Bowl (and we will), I intend to be on a committee somewhere. My only personal goal is to get tickets to the Maxim party. Or the Playboy party. Or…well, any party.
Predictions for Super Bowl LII
It will be in Indianapolis. The AFC will win. The halftime show will be a band I’ve never heard before.