INDIANAPOLIS — The stage is literally being set on Monument Circle as Indy prepares to welcome more than 100 thousand fans downtown for the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
The effort to get to downtown ready is underway. Crews began setting up a large stage on Monument Circle that will hosts free concerts from Doja Cat, AJR, Twenty One Pilots and Ava Max. Sam Hunt and Breland will also be performing on game day.
“The fan experience will rival that of any other major sporting event with exciting and innovative moments that we’ve never seen before in our city,” Susan Baughman, President of the 2022 CFP Indianapolis Host Committee, said.
The weekend will begin with the opening of the Playoff Fan Central Experience inside the Indiana Convention Center. Along with the concerts there will be a 5K and massive tailgate on the day of the game.
“In the Fan Central you can expect games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances from the two teams,” Baughman said. “We have great special guests coming in, autograph session, exhibits and all things college football.”
While there is plenty of fun, city officials are preparing to keep everyone safe.
“Public safety will have an established command center that will monitor everything from traffic to weather conditions to crowd size,” IMPD Commander Brian Mahone said.
IMPD will have uniform and plain clothes officers scattered across the downtown area. Police are also working with fire officials on capacity restrictions at the concerts and surrounding bars and restuarants.
“We want everybody to have a good time and it just takes a couple people to ruin that and we are going to have a lot of officers out to help and assist with that,” Mahone said.
The other big concern is COVID-19.
Indiana is currently experience one of its worst surges of the entire pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported a near record number of hospitalizations with room in the city’s medical centers dwindling.
Despite that, neither the game or any of the events will require attendees to wear masks or be vaccinated. However, both are encouraged.
“People know what it takes in order to be safe,” Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said. “Wear that mask when indoors, get vaccinated with the boosters get themselves tested before the game.”
Dr. Caine said she has been in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is confident that the city’s experience hosting other large sporting events like the Indy 500 and the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament has them prepared to host this one.
“People are knowledgeable about what it takes in order to make them safe,” Dr. Caine said.