College Football

Purdue, Michigan fans descend on Indianapolis for Big Ten Championship football

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to the Indiana Sports Corp, 70,000 fans are expected in the Indianapolis metro area ahead of Saturday’s Big Ten Championship football game between Purdue and No. 2 Michigan.

Lisa Harrison, who traveled to Indianapolis from Michigan with her husband and daughter, said while amid events on downtown’s Georgia Street, “It’s exciting. It’s invigorating. It’s great weather.”

Noel Harrison, whose brother is a wide receiver for the Wolverines, said, “It’s cool. It’s nice to be in a busy city. There’s lots of people and stuff going on.”

The nonprofit Indiana Sports Corp expects the Big Ten Championship game and the events leading up to it to have a $20 million economic impact on the community. The 2021 Big Ten Championship game between Michigan and Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium had the highest attendance in the 11-year history of the event. The 2022 game is nearly a sellout.

It’s not just businesses, hotels and restaurants that benefit from the game. The Rev. Rick Nagel of St. The Evangelist Catholic Church on Georgia Street, said, “Our college students will sell parking spots so they can use that toward national trips, or the Holy Land pilgrimage we are doing in May.”

Nagel says expects to see a boost in attendance for Sunday Mass as he does whenever a major sports event or convention comes to town. “Michigan has a lot of Catholics, so we will have likely a higher mass attendance on Sunday, and, just from event to event, we can grow quite a bit on any given weekend.”

Fan Fest events continue Saturday morning on Georgia Street and inside the Indiana Convention Center.