NEW YORK CITY — At a panel discussion at New York University, Mayor Greg Ballard sat among experts in sports and economics, as they analyzed whether big events like the Super Bowl impact cities positively or negatively.
Ballard was part of the panel during a quick day trip to the Big Apple, where he does work with NYU through the Conference of Mayors’ Sports Alliance.
“They can bring a city together. They can tear a city apart. Lots of things can happen,” Ballard said.
The panel spent a lot of time discussing Indy’s Super Bowl, concluding that it was a success and made a positive lasting impact on the city, but at one point suggesting Ballard’s interpretations were a little “too rosy.”
Still, other panelists praised the Indianapolis’ sporting events throughout the discussion.
“You’ve seen sports as an economic niche and that kind of thinking is what we have to get to (in other cities),” panelist Richard Florida said.
One drawback to hosting large events, Ballard pointed out, is concern over security. He even shared a moment during the 2012 Super Bowl festivities, when band LMFAO went on longer than expected, with more than 125,000 people in attendance.
Ballard was watching security cameras of the crowd at the time.
“They did encore, after encore, after encore. I kept yelling at my computer screens, ‘Stop, stop, spread out so they’ll disperse,'” Ballard said.
Still, Indy’s Super Bowl went off to great fanfare and with no major security issues.
As for the bid for a second Super Bowl in 2018, though, Ballard kept pretty mum.
“I feel good about our chances, but I don’t want to jinx it,” Ballard said.