Preparations are underway for the Big 10 Championship game in Indianapolis, and this year the events surrounding the game are bigger than ever.
In addition to the Big 10 Fan Fest at the convention center, there will be a two day tailgating event on Georgia Street.
“We really try to take a sporting event and really make it much larger than just the game,” said John Dedman, with Indiana Sports Corp.
Last year’s game wasn’t just the first Big Ten Championship, it was also the first test for events on Georgia Street. Though it was a popular destination, the street required quite a few repairs following the Super Bowl. Now, Indianapolis Downtown Inc., which rents out the street, says it is ready for the large crowds once again.
“We’ve learned a lot over the last year and I think that Sports Corp has learned a lot in the couple of events that they’ve done,” said Melissa Thompson, Georgia Street manager for IDI. “So we’re excited to kind of really use it to it’s potential.”
On Friday and Saturday the street will feature video boards and tents with food and drinks along Georgia Street from Capital to Illinois Streets. The tailgate will last from 3-9pm on Friday and 10am-8pm Saturday.
Kilroy’s Bar and Grill will also have a tailgate party between Meridian and Pennsylvania Streets.
“They’ll have a tent up there as well,” Thompson said. “The center block will really just be for pedestrian traffic, getting the mall garage and having a good time.”
On Friday, there will also be rides available in a two-seat IndyCar from 3pm to 6pm. Rides will cost $15.
“It actually starts on Illinois and Georgia Street, and we’ll kind of do a little lap around downtown,” Dedman said. “I believe they are going to try to incorporate Lucas Oil Stadium as well.”
Organizers hope to mimic the popularity of the zipline during the Super Bowl, offering a different kind of memorable ride.
“We want to create an environment here that is Indianapolis specific,” Dedman said. “We really want them to have a good time and to be able to congregate with friends and family, whether you’re from Indianapolis or from Nebraska or Wisconsin or another Big Ten part of the country.