INDIANAPOLIS – The Circle City is taking aim to keep a long-standing sports tradition in the Hoosier state.
The Indiana Sports Corporation is bidding to keep the Big 10 Championship in Indianapolis. The Big Ten has opened up the opportunity to other cities across the country, now that it has added four more schools to the conference.
The Big Ten set a deadline for Friday for cities to bid on hosting the annual conference sporting event. The Circle City, however, has hosted the event since its inception back in 2011.
“It’s a really unique opportunity for the Big Ten Championship to come to Indianapolis every single year, and have the community rally around it in a way a lot of other cities don’t have the chance to do,” said Sam Reel, the Indiana Sports Corp. communications coordinator.
The Big Ten football Championship has practically been a tradition for Indianapolis over the past decade. Now that UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington are set to join the conference next year, other cities like Las Vegas are interested in taking a shot at hoisting the game.
“This is the first time they have really taken it out to a full public bid,” Reel said.
But Reel said the Indiana Sports Corp. is eager to try and keep the game in the Hoosier state for the 2025-2028 seasons.
“We think we are still the best place for it, being located right in the middle of the country, and we’d love to have people from the West Coast come join us and enjoy the game as well,” he said.
It’s been an economic powerhouse over the last decade or so, growing bigger each year it has been in Indy. Hotels have booked left and right over the years.
“Last year we saw them out about a 94% occupancy rate in the city,” described Morgan Snyder, the Visit Indy senior director of public relations. “About 70,000 people that come into Indianapolis. So, we’re seeing the demand in Indianapolis and our hotel build is a big part of that.”
Visit Indy said there is about $1.7 billion of new tourism infrastructure underway, which includes construction of new hotels. These efforts help accommodate the growth and keep the Circle City competitive when it comes to locking down major events.
“We have to be ready to grow with those increasing numbers of visitors coming into Indianapolis,” Snyder said. “You’ve seen this city grow so much over the past 10 years, but I think what you’re going to see over the next 10 years is a whole other level of expansion, acceleration and growth that truly marks Indy as an ascending city.”
When it comes to bidding on other major sporting events like the Super Bowl or the NFL draft, the Indiana Sports Corp. said it is always exploring new possibilities.
“I’m not going to talk any specific bids, but we definitely have an exciting pipeline coming up and we’re always looking to expand that in new ways,” Reel said.
Indianapolis will still host the Big Ten Championship this year and in 2024. The Sports Corp. said the Big Ten will likely decide which city will host the game during the 2025-2028 seasons by sometime this winter or the end of the year.