INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As the college football world turns to New Orleans for the big game, those on the Indy College Football Playoff Host Committee look ahead to 2022 when the champion will be crowned in Indianapolis.
“We will expect to host more than 100,000 people downtown for those 4 days, and we know the economic impact will exceed $150 million,” said Mark Howell, the chair of the host committee.
Howell is currently in New Orleans with about 15 other representatives from Indy taking in the festivities of the 2020 final. They’re observing everything from the game to surrounding events.
“We’ve had groups that have focused on public safety, folks that have crowd management, transportation, credentialling. We’ve tried to visit all the venues and have the fan experience,” Howell said. “They have a tremendous fan fest that takes up the majority of the convention center down here. We were there yesterday, and it was amazing, literally thousands and thousands of people having a blast.”
On top of just the game, host cities take on a weekend full of events like concerts and fan fests.
“At this point in time, the main thing I believe our focus is on is trying to figure out the best locations for the events that we have,” said president of the Indy host committee Susan Baughman. “So at this time we’re working through locations that will lead us to operational planning, and then as we move into next year it will turn into the execution of the event.”
Hosting big events is nothing new to Indianapolis. On top of hosting the Super Bowl the city has experienced Big Ten tournaments and Final Fours. The success of those events led the College Football Playoff Committee to approach Indianapolis, instead of Indy putting in a bid to compete with other cities.
“They reached out to us and asked us in 2022 if we had the capacity or the desire to host this event, and of course we’re excited about the opportunity,” said Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp. “Indianapolis was literally built to host these kind of major sporting events.”
Vaughn says on top of having a top-notch stadium and the airport, Indianapolis is attractive as a host city because of its walk ability and venues. The city is also set to host the 2021 NBA All Star game and the 2021 NCAA Final Four.
“The collective impact of all of these events is almost double what the Super Bowl was, it will be in excess of $600 million,” Vaughn said. “The opportunity to host this many major events in this short period of time means Indianapolis is going to be on a global media stage in a positive light.”
Indianapolis will be the first cold weather city to host the football championship game, and organizers are keeping that in mind during planning.
“I think we’re going to do a two-prong approach in terms of planning logistically for snow, rain or ice and making sure we can make it safe for everyone,” Baughman said “(But) also taking advantage of it if we continue to have warmer temperatures.”
Although New Orleans doesn’t have to worry about snow very often, the city did see severe weather this weekend along with tornado warnings. Howell says their response was noted by their group.
“It’s been very valuable for us and the public safety folks to be able to see how they had done contingency planning,” Howell said. “How they responded to severe weather and how they were able to keep everything still going despite what was some challenging weather conditions.”
On top of those traveling to Indianapolis for the game, the host committee expects Hoosiers to take part in the festivities as well.
“These events in Indianapolis are not going to be just directed to those people who have a ticket to the game, but it’s going to be directed to the whole community,” Howell said. “We want the city of Indianapolis and central Indiana to have opportunities to come and participate and enjoy this unique experience.”
The championship game will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, January 10, 2022.
For all the upcoming events, Indiana Sports Corp says they are always in need of volunteers. You can find information to volunteer HERE.