Let’s do it again.
That’s what the 100-plus corporate donors who put up nearly $30 million to help Indianapolis land its first Super Bowl said when asked if they wanted a second shot the NFL championship game — and all the revenue-producing, reputation-enhancing hoopla that can go with it.
At a press conference Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium — where the Super Bowl was played in February — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said civic leaders and corporate donors have told him they’re ready to sign up again for 2018.
Ballard’s announcement — “I have four words for you: Let’s do it again” — won cheers from supporters in the audience.
The press conference was called under the guise of announcing results of an economic impact study that says the 10 days of Super Bowl festivities surrounding the game unleashed $177 million in direct spending; and an additional $100 million in “supply chain” spending by businesses to stock up for the game.
The report, commissioned by the Super Bowl Host Committee, also says that tax receipts initiated by Super XLVI-related spending generated nearly $89 million for federal, state and local governments. That includes nearly $25 million in tax revenues, ranging from licensing fees to excise on car rentals.
That kind of money is significant, given the huge investment of public and private dollars that went into building the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008 as the home venue for the Indianapolis Colts. Owner Jim Irsay has credited the city’s and state’s decision to help finance its construction for landing its first Super Bowl bid.
“The competition is always tough,” said Irsay, of Indianapolis’ chances of winning another nod from the NFL team owners who pick the game’s host cities. “But I know the feedback I’ve gotten has been just tremendous.”
Wednesday’s announcement came after the Super Bowl Host Committee showed a video capturing the post-game praise and adulation heaped on the city by the national media, whose members had scorned the Indianapolis in its pre-Super Bowl days as too provincial to host a celebrity-filled event.
The video included a quote from CNBC’s sports business reporter Daren Rovell who said the Indianapolis “was the best host city the Super Bowl has ever seen.” One reason why Rovell liked Indianapolis: it’s compact downtown, which allowed visitors to walk almost everywhere, including to Lucas Oil Stadium.
The balmy weather in late January and early February, leading up to the game played in Indianapolis, didn’t hurt. Temperatures hovered in the 50s, and skies were clear most days. That was in stark contrast to the nasty, icy weather that plagued Dallas when it hosted the Super Bowl in 2011.
But Mark Miles, chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee, said it was a massive outpouring of support from corporate and civic leaders, combined with cover-all-contingencies planning and execution, plus some 8,000 “Super Service” community volunteers who stood on street corners and in parking lots to direct thousands of out-of-town visitors, that really made the difference.
“The reaction we received from the league itself and its owners was glowing,” Miles said. “By every measure I know about, subjective or objective, Super Bowl XLVI was an enormous success.”
The city’s hotels and restaurants benefitted. The study found hotel occupancy rates in the Indianapolis area were at about 93 percent for the four days leading up to the game. The occupancy rate for downtown hotels was at 99 percent. Daily rooms rates averaged $290.
Miles said many corporate sponsors who put up the money before to convince NFL team owners that the city was serious about its 2012 bid, appear ready to do so again.
“I’d just tell you, the feedback was overwhelming,” Miles said. “It was nearly unanimous: ‘You’ve got to do this, and we’ll play.’”
Still, it will take more than promises. Indianapolis has already agreed to host some major sporting events in the coming years, including Olympic trials in some sports for the 2016 games.
Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at
Let’s do it again.
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