February 3rd, 2012
02:59 PM ET

Super Bowl spices up staid Indianapolis

The giant Super Bowl Experience has taken over downtown Indianapolis ahead of Sunday's game. (Getty Images)
The giant Super Bowl Experience has taken over downtown Indianapolis ahead of Sunday's game. (Getty Images)

One of the biggest sporting spectacles on the planet has descended on one of the smallest U.S. cities to ever host such a grandiose event. Indianapolis is known as the "Crossroads of America" and, with a moniker like that, it only makes sense that the 12th largest city in the U.S. would get in on the action.

Super Bowl Sunday is a very American tradition that's caught the attention of many sports fans around the world. But until now, they have probably only known about this town of just over 800,000 people thanks to the Indianapolis 500 motor race. Now, Indy truly shifts into high gear!

Hosting a Super Bowl is a mammoth task and Indianapolis has shown, in the days leading up to the big game, that it's up for the challenge.

First, it's worth noting that there are many people here that won't get the chance to get anywhere near Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the New England Patriots and the New York Giants do battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in person on Sunday. Either they can't find a connection to get a ticket or they've simply been priced out of the game. It seems to matter not for many.

The Super Bowl is an event, and with that designation comes all of the ancillary activities. On the family-friendly front, downtown Indianapolis has turned into an American football-lovers' paradise.

The NFL Experience, an interactive maze that's taken over the convention center, is on pace to break attendance records.

The other night, with a chill in the air, I thought for a moment that I had been transported back in time and back across the U.S.- Canadian border to relive the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Thousands of people were on the streets soaking up the "super" atmosphere. Taking a page from their brethren to the north, the idea to put a Zip Line in downtown hit has been a high-altitude hit.

Once darkness falls, the party people keep this place electric. While it might not have the glitz or the glamor of New York or L.A., celebrities from those cities and many others are spicing up the usually staid Indianapolis scene. Thank the Super Bowl for awakening Indiana's state capital and shaking it out of its usual wintertime routine.

Oh yeah, speaking of the weather, it's one thing that organizers have no control over. Snow, and lots of it, could have blanketed this Midwestern city. After all, it walloped the southern metroplex of Dallas, Texas last year when Cowboys Stadium hosted the Super Bowl. It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't fun for anyone.

Indianapolis has benefited from a warmer than normal winter season and it's helped put another good face on what's shaping up to being a spectacular week. Let's hope that the Giants and the Patriots can provide the cherry on what's becoming a delicious cake that the fine folks of Indy have been cooking up with a "super" game come Sunday!

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. JoBu

    This isn't an incredibly flattering representation of Indy, and sadly typical of flyover reporting. Let's keep in mind, there aren't more than 200 restaurants in the immediate walkable blocks of downtown Indy because of the Super Bowl. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge would know that businesses cannot support themselves for years on a one week event. This city has a buzz of some sort, even if it’s just Regional or Local, virtually every day of every week.

    Indy is vibrant the entire year, regardless of weather. There are large conventions & events of all kinds downtown every week of the year & are planned years in advance. Hotels continue to expand at a rapid pace, just to keep up. And so much of this activity during a recession. Visitors & locals alike have been building this city into what it is for decades. My family and I, despite living in a suburb almost 20 miles away from downtown, routinely enjoy nights out in the city for, concerts, events, dining, etc. My point is, the city isn’t what it is because a gaggle of celebs joined our party for a week. It’s an incredibly prosperous city that has resurrected itself from the industrial shell that became the carcass of much of the Midwest. In so many regards, it defies the trends of nearly every other Midwestern ‘flyover’ city, and in a positive way.

    Also, I want to clear up some numbers. Two are misleading. Indy is the 12th largest city in the country with regard to incorporated city limits, at approximately 830,000. However, the Indy-Carmel Metropolitan Area is closer to a population of 2 million. However, with regard to US metropolitan areas, Indy is only the 34th largest city in the country. It really is important to clear that up, as those with no knowledge of Indy would really get the wrong impression given the representation. Area urban population is larger, but in comparable population rank, it is lower.

    That aside, cheers from Indy. Enjoy your stay!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  2. KF

    Indianapolis is an amazing world-class city. This article shows little research.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  3. F. Edward Butz

    I have lived in Indy since returning from service in 1946. I have watched this city continue to grow through the years, thanks to Mayor Goldsmith & Bill Hudnut.I was in business from 1960 until 2008 and experienced a very successful experience. The city is now alive and far from what used to be known as Nap Town. All I hear from visitors is what a friendly city we have. I could go on and on, but can only say come and see of fabulous city

    February 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  4. sally

    most definitely true!! when is the last time this reporter has visited this "staid" city??? Fortunately, Indianapolis is a welcoming city!

    February 4, 2012 at 12:47 am | Reply
  5. Harry Davis

    Indianapolis is a beautiful city, but who cares for boring gridiron.

    February 4, 2012 at 1:03 am | Reply
  6. MetroCard

    I would have to echo the sentiments of the two previous posters. This article is riddled with inaccuracies, and is typical of the condescension exhibited by the ignorant American media towards any city that isn't sexy enough to be mentioned above the fold.

    You present this article as if Indianapolis is some small town in the middle of nowhere. It's the twelfth largest city in the most powerful, prosperous country in the world. The NFL doesn't exactly afford the opportunity to host Super Bowls to podunk backwaters, yet that's precisely the image you (and nearly everyone else) have been desperately trying to portray over the last two weeks.

    Why is it that media representatives from European countries can write fantastic travel articles about Indianapolis without having to resort to the insertion of backhanded compliments or snide remarks, but American journalists can't? I have never in my life seen such blatant arrogance directed towards people of the same country–and it's completely unjustified. And yet, if the newspapers in Indianapolis ran pieces about the barrage of backhanded compliments from the presumptuous, disdainful journalists from the very cities it has gone out of its way to accommodate for the big game, there'd be no shortage of complaints.

    Every city does not need to millions of people and five boroughs in order to be outstanding. The vast majority of Americans don't care, live, or think about New York–let alone the East Coast in its entirety–nearly as much as you all would like to believe. I can't speak for other Indianapolitans, but let me assure you that I do not appreciate reading garbage like this. Perhaps if you spent far less time belittling cities you obviously don't know very well and looking for something that wasn't there to begin with, you'd be able to get your point across more objectively.

    February 4, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  7. Steven T.

    With so many inaccuracies, one must question whether the writer is competent. Has Mr. McKay even been to the city about which he writes? If he actually is, or for more than three months has been, a "WORLD SPORT ANCHOR", then he's really showing his ignorance about sports in general, and not just about Indy and it's long-established place in collegiate and professional team sports (...not to mention the 500, which is by far and has always been the largest sporting event in the world). Can a guy claim to be a WORLD authority on anything when he knows so little about the subject?

    But regarding that supercilious "flyover" mentality pervading McKay's report: Atlanta is a sweltering, culture-less, kudzu-and-mosquito-plagued swamp of a nowheresville, that is moreover NOT ON THE EAST COAST. Atlanta is still very much (in just about every respect) deep in the heart of Georgia, and all that Georgia historically represents...no matter how hard some like McKay pretend to that level of fake-elite coastal condescension. Reading McKay's tripe, I am fondlly reminded that Sherman once burned Atlanta to the ground.

    February 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  8. Melissa

    How can the author of this article identify Indianapolis as "one of the smallest U.S. cities to ever host such a grandiose event"–when the Super Bowl has in the past been hosted by New Orleans, Miami, Pasadena, Tampa, Minneapolis, and Stanford (CA), all of which are cities smaller than Indianapolis.

    Is the author really that ignorant? If so, perhaps he should be relocated to Indianapolis for four years–long enough to acquire a feel for this diverse and rollicking city, as well as a college degree that will train him how to conduct adequate research and put together an article that is worthy of the reading public. If this were in a newspaper, I'd be using it to wrap fish in right now.

    February 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  9. Chris

    Why is everyone going on about attacking the author... he's defending Indy and saying that its a good place for the Super Bowl!

    Lets tone down the over defensiveness for a while.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  10. Tika

    I guess they forgot about our Hoosier Hospitality. It can be irksome that people still think of Indianapolis as being a city of corn but there's no sense in making nasty comments about the author this piece.

    February 6, 2012 at 5:28 am | Reply
  11. Linda Mckay Weigert

    Hi Mark, You sure look like a cousin, my Dad,Donald E Mckay& Grandparents,Frederick Mckay&Elizabeth Tourcott Mckay, were all born In Canada! Thanks Linda

    February 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply

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