INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis has done it again – both city officials and out-of-state fans are calling the College Football Playoff National Championship a success.
“Everywhere you’d look there was something new. It was awesome,” said Ethan Barrilleaux.
Barrilleaux and Matthew Trinh are University of Georgia students who play for the university’s Redcoat Marching Band. During their short time in Indianapolis, both said they were impressed by the various festivities downtown had to offer.
“It’s a beautiful city,” said Trinh. “I love it here.”
“Definitely in terms of where we’ve gone for band this year – Indy was definitely the most fun I’ve had,” said Barrilleaux.
“All eyes were on Indianapolis. And for those on the ground, they were warmly welcomed no matter what the temperature was outside,” said Chris Gahl, senior vice president for Visit Indy.
Gahl said more than 100,000 visitors generated an estimated $150 million in revenue over the course of the weekend.
“We believe by the end of the year, when you look at tourism, we’ll be 100% recovered,” said Gahl. “We’re proud of an event like the CFP kicking off our year. That will enable us to keep that momentum going.”
Gahl said, as it stands right now, the city’s tourism revenue is about 85% recovered and the upcoming calendar of events look solid with no known cancellations. Gahl said the Visit Indy team even hosted several “key decision-makers” from across the nation in an effort to bid on even more events in the future.
“We basically said ‘Hey look, if we can pull off the College Football Playoff National Championship we feel confident we can host your meeting or convention’,” said Gahl. “And these eight decision-makers make up about $400 million in potential convention business.”
Looking ahead to the next major sporting event, the National Football League will be back in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine in March.
“This is the 35th time they convene in Indianapolis and we have them this year safe and sound and are trying to keep them on our books for future years,” said Gahl.
Gahl said set up for the NFL Scouting Combine will begin Feb. 27 and public events will be held March 3-6.
“We’re expecting 6,000 attendees to be able to step inside Lucas Oil Stadium to see 400 college athletes try out for a job and that job is whether they’ll be drafted into the NFL,” said Gahl.
Gahl said that event is expected to bring in an additional $9 million in revenue. Fans will need to secure tickets for the planned events, but Gahl said more details will be announced in the coming weeks.