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Local leaders celebrate successful College Football Playoff weekend in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The future of hosting more big events in Indianapolis is bright.

That’s what Mayor Joe Hogsett said at Tuesday morning’s 2022 College Football Playoff championship debriefing.

“The lead-up to yesterday’s game was about more than just logistics. It was a chance for this single event to impact our city for years to come positively,” Hogsett said.

Susan Baughman, the president of the 2022 College Football Playoff Championship Indianapolis Host Committee, thanked those who worked around the clock to pull off the events leading up to the game. She says more than 400 people on the host committee along with 2,000 volunteers made everything possible over the weekend.

“We can’t do it without those people who give up their time so freely for us and that’s what makes our community very special,” Baughman said.

They set up signage all over downtown, displays on Georgia Street, and helped with free activities at Fan Central in the Indiana Convention Center. There were also vendors on the circle, including WISH-TV, there to serve people and brave the cold with loyal Georgia and Alabama fans.

There was some concern about attendance Saturday as things were impacted by a winter weather advisory, but crews salted sidewalks and overcame challenges.

“We had great cooperation from DPW to get salt down. We saw the crowds pick up. We had a couple of hours where people where weren’t sure to stay in or stay out,” Baughman said.

She also mentioned how the city managed COVID-19 protocols while still giving fans the freedom to still have fun.

“Trying to do things that are within the protocol that is acceptable. In the case of football, the teams and the universities in their own home states needed to decide what they’re doing and for safety and then we tried to roll those protocols over into the national championship,” Baughman said.

Officials hope that having served as the national championship game host will continue to make Indianapolis a destination city for future events. 

“I think the city’s ability to recreate itself, to move the NCAA headquarters here, to be able to host people of all sizes for conventions, sporting events, the walkability, the number of new hotels we have, has made a huge difference in our competitive nature,” Baughman said.