In one month, Indianapolis will host Super Bowl 2012. Though the Super Bowl will last just a few hours, the Circle City has spent $100,000 in advertisements to lure tourists the week before the big game.
Why? Indianapolis is pulling out all the stops to create a complete Super Bowl experience that extends far beyond the Lucas Oil Stadium.
We're bracing for 150,000 visitors, Chris Gahl, vice president of marketing and communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, told the International Business Times.
The heart of the Super Bowl action will be in downtown Indianapolis at the three-block Super Bowl Village. The free, interactive fan zone will span from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse all the way to the NFL Experience at the Indiana Convention Center along the newly redesigned Georgia Street.
We've completely transformed our downtown, Gahl said. There will be food carts, vendors, three stages, warming stations, food and beverage ... It's meant to emulate an Olympic village.
In addition to the interactive games, concert stages, bars and restaurants, and a so-called Tailgate Town, four zip lines will traverse Capital Avenue giving fans a chance to fly over the Super Bowl Village.
Produced by the National Football League, the NFL Experience at the Indiana Convention Center is a pro football interactive theme park that will offer participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kid's football clinics, free autograph sessions, and the largest football memorabilia show ever staged.
Indianapolis may be a big football town, but it's known as the Racing Capital of the World. In a happy marriage of the two sports, 33 speedsters bearing the logos of NFL teams and Super Bowl XLVI will line the city streets during the week of the big game.
This will be the first time Indianapolis hosts the Super Bowl and officials believe their proven track record with the Indianapolis 500 -- arguably the world's largest single-day sporting event -- is why the NFL gave them a shot.
There is a real hunger from a community standpoint to be incredibly buttoned up and prepared, Gahl said. We want to roll out the red carpet for this event not only because of its magnitude, but to insure that we prove to the NFL that we are capable of being in contention to host again.
For those just looking to chow down and enjoy the ambiance, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development partnered up with the Super Bowl Host Committee and Indianapolis Monthly to promote Super 46 Sandwiches, a guide to the 46 best sandwiches in the area. The online Fantasy Football-like competition has a wildcard round, a divisional, a conference, and a Super Sandwich Round. The champion will be revealed the Thursday before the Super Bowl.
The Indiana State Museum will open the exhibit Chaos is a Friend of Mine: Cultural Icons from the Jim Irsay Collection to coincide with Super Bowl week. The show features an eclectic collection of items from the Indianapolis Colts owner, including Jerry Garcia's guitar and Jack Kerouac's original manuscript for On the Road, along with NFL memorabilia.
Indianapolis can be a hard sell in the dark days of winter, but tourism officials hope the monthlong buildup and the weeklong schedule of events, parties, and NFL-themed destinations will be enough to draw hordes of tourists - particularly from nearby Midwestern cities like Chicago, Cincinnati, and Louisville. With nine NFL franchises within 400 miles of Indianapolis, they plan to entice a strong regional crowd.
But forget about finding a hotel room for the weekend of the game. According to tourism officials, you'll have better luck finding affordable accommodation for the week prior - and you don't need a game ticket to experience the hype and excitement of the Super Bowl.
In numbers, 150,000 visitors are expected to generate $150 million in economic impact for Indianapolis. Local businesses have been told to expect seven times as much activity and there will be over 130 parties in the six days leading up to the game. Over 1,000 private planes are expected on the ground during the weekend ushering in countless celebrities. And as the game goes on, analysts expect 4,000 tweets per second about the Super Bowl.
The NFL Experience and the Super Bowl Village will open on Jan. 27. For a full listing of events, visit http://www.indianapolissuperbowl.com/event-calendar/