INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis has reportedly turned down a request from the National Football League to host the AFC Championship game later in January.
As first reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal, the City has declined to host the NFL’s penultimate game due to scheduling conflicts. City officials added that the Indy convention center already has a packed calendar.
Indianapolis Colts executives were asked by league officials earlier this week about hosting the game on either Jan. 28 or 29. The request came after a Week 17 game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was canceled.
The city already has an event on its calendar at Lucas Oil Stadium, the proposed host site. This, officials said, would make it nearly impossible for the NFL to host a game there.
The already-scheduled event, a national volleyball tournament hosted by Capitol Sports Center called The Central Zone Invitational, is expected to draw as many as 30,000 people downtown.
Additionally, the City is expecting a peak hotel room occupancy exceeding 7,000 rooms, which accounts for nearly every room in downtown Indianapolis.
Visit Indy employees as well as Indianapolis officials made efforts to accommodate both events but were unsuccessful.
“After the NFL reached out to the Colts to explore the possibility of Indy hosting the AFC Championship as a neutral site, the Capital Improvement Board and Visit Indy quickly touched base with … Capitol Sports Volleyball, which has grown each and every year it has been in the city,” Chris Gahl, executive vice president of Visit Indy, said to the IBJ. “With 30,000 volleyball players, families and fans coming in to spend the same weekend for the event [as the championship game], based on timing, that event had to stay in place as it was.”
The volleyball tournament is a yearly event that has expanded over the past years. This year, Central Zone Invitational is expected to have an economic impact of about $10.7 million.