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College Football Playoff championship could bring $150M to Indy economy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After the announcement that the 2022 College Football Playoff national championship will take place in Indianapolis, the business community is excited about that economic spark.

It’s an event that could mean big business in 2022 but also beyond. In total, $150 million is the floor for economic impact.

“Like the Indy 500 or Final Four, they’re coming in there will be a minimum night stay coming in the Saturday, Sunday and Monday night to be able to make it an incredible weekend,” said Phil Ray, the general manager at the downtown’s JW Marriott Indianapolis.

Fan, music and food festivals will serve as opening acts for the big game.

“All the hotels will be completely full. It means the restaurants and bars will have a tremendous amount of activities,” he said.

With the Final Four coming several months earlier, what has made Indianapolis a destination for major sports events?

“The criteria we had to meet, to host the Super Bowl, was a good catalyst for us and learning experience as we do all these bids, so I think it made us more sophisticated and helped us understand what the stretch and capabilities of our venues and our hotels and our capacity downtown is,” said Susan Baughman, who is the senior vice president at Indiana Sports Corp.

It’s not like Indianapolis had to beg for the CFP national championship.

CFP reached out to the city, asking to host the 2022 championship. Indianapolis had to match requirements, including at least 8,000 hotel rooms, adequate parking, downtown restaurants, a convention center and a football stadium.

With 100,000 or more expected in the Circle City and plenty more eyeballs watching on television, whoever wins the championship, Mayor Joe Hogsett is rooting for the Hoosier economy to win long-term.

“Some of those visitors might be business leaders of their own and they might recognize Indianapolis as the ideal place to open a business or to host a convention,” he said.

Arlington, Texas, just outside Dallas, is the only other city to host the Final Four and College Football Playoff National Championship within 12 months of one another.

An Arlington spokesperson said you can’t put a dollar value on the publicity, with so many visitors and lots of television time. He added that these massive events can help, along with efforts throughout the year, to bring in more tourists.

Arlington saw a 40 percent increase in tourism from last year to this year. He said the big events in 2014 did help put Arlington on the map for some people.

Time will tell what impact these events could have long-term in Indianapolis.