In February of 2012, Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, which is arguably one of the biggest games in American Sports that occurs every year. Residents were confident in the city’s ability to host such an important event, while outsiders and visitors were skeptical about a Super Bowl in the Midwest’s Hoosier State.
It’s no secret that Indianapolis has been using sports as an urban planning tactic to help revitalize and develop the city. Since as early as the 1970s, the city has been making great strides to update arenas and provide state of the art facilities for their home teams in order to make the city more desirable for big sporting events.
In preparation for the big game, a ‘Super Bowl Village’ was created along Georgia Street, an East/West corridor that connects Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse), to the Indianapolis Convention Center. It continued on south to Capitol Avenue to Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Super Bowl game was held. Contemporary outdoor bars, live concert stages, street performers, and family-friendly activities occurred in this space; not to mention the zip-line overtop of it!
The event was a huge success, drawing hundreds of thousands of celebrities and visitors to Indiana’s capital city. More importantly, the funds from the Super Bowl have been put towards re-developing the city’s ‘Near Eastside’ neighborhood, an area that has been struggling for decades. More people are moving downtown and businesses are opening up along corridors that haven’t seen action in years. Between the unique set-up and the fact that all banners and posters were recycled for re-use, Indianapolis has set an example for all future host cities.
Since hosting a successful Super Bowl in 2012, Indianapolis has been invited to bid for the 2018 Super Bowl game by the National Football League (NFL). The city was chosen as a finalist, along with Minneapolis and New Orleans. Many believe that Indianapolis could become the first cold-weather city to host more than one Super Bowl.
How can sports act as a catalyst for development in cities? What other sports developments have enacted change within a community?
Credits: Images by Laura Granieri. Data linked to sources.