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Big Ten Football Championship in Indy expected to bring in $18M

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Big Ten Football Championship game will bring tens of thousands of people to Indianapolis, but it will also create big economic opportunity for downtown businesses.

Visit Indy projects an $18 million economic impact this weekend, thanks to the game.

That’s more than years past, according to Chris Gahl, the senior vice president at Visit Indy. 

Hotels, bars and streets will be packed with college football fans, particularly from Ohio State and Northwestern universities, the two teams playing in the championship game. 

“The Big Ten has been our biggest day of the year,” said Sara Etherington, the events coordinator at Slippery Noodle Inn, a bar and restaurant a block from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the game will be played Saturday night.

“Twice as busy as a Colts game no matter who’s playing,” Etherington said. 

It’s not only the game that will bring people downtown: Fan Fest takes place Friday and Saturday. Friday night, Georgia Street was scheduled to be shut down for festivities. One Republic will headline a concert downtown. 

Ohio State or Northwestern will hoist the trophy for winning the Big Ten, but many believe Indianapolis will win the weekend. 

Gahl said the hope is that the weekend will bring people back to Indianapolis again and convince organizations to bring conventions to the circle city down the line.