Circle City expecting big money from BIG10 Championship

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- No matter who wins the BIG10 Championship game on Saturday featuring the Northwestern University Wildcats and the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Indianapolis will come out on top.

By early Friday morning fans from both teams had already started making their way to the circle city. Tourism officials with Visit Indy estimate by Sunday night, more than 100,000 visitors would make their way to and through the circle city.

“We suspect that we’ll see record setting crowds here this weekend,” Visit Indy senior VP Chris Gahl said.

While the big game will no doubt drive much of that traffic. Gahl points out that Chicago and Columbus are target cities for Visit Indy when it comes to marketing Indianapolis for tourism.

“We invest year round marketing to Chicago residents and to Columbus Ohio residents and so they are accustomed to receiving our invitations to come visit our city,” Gahl said.

Visit Indy estimates that within a three day period, the city will bring in more than $18 million to the local economy. Good news for the more than 80,000 Hoosiers who rely on tourism to make a living.

“And so we work as a city with a sense of urgency to fill up the city, to ensure that those men and women keep earning a paycheck. And so its events like this weekend and the big 1o football championship that ensures that our restaurants and our hotels, our museums, the convention center staff, the stadium staff is working and earning a paycheck so we don’t take that lightly,” Gahl said.

Downtown restaurants, bars, and hotels will likely see the initial windfall.

“The impact on our business is fantastic when events come like this,” Scotty’s Brewhouse manager Frank Desantis said.

Ultimately Gahl says events like the BIG 10 Championship give “wins” to the circle city on two fronts: with the money that is brought in, and with the credibility the city earns when the events are successful.

“We know that each and every sporting event that we host is entertaining the idea in some minds that wow if they can host this event surely they can host my meeting or convention,” Gahl said.