Make your home page

Excitement builds around another major sporting event coming to Indy

Indy excited to host first weekend of NCAA Tournament

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis has become one of the most recognizable sports cities in the country. Recently, the city was named the fifth-best place to host major sporting events like the NCAA Tournament.

“We grow basketball here, so having basketball in Indiana is really important,” said Patrick Talty, president of Indiana Sports Corp.

Fresh off hosting the NBA All-Star Game, Indianapolis is ready for more basketball. For the 26th time, the Road to the Final Four goes through Indy.

“We’re really excited,” Talty said. “I think we do basketball better than anybody else. We host these events better than anybody else. So why not have it here and why not try to get it each and every year?”

It’s a stacked slate this year, highlighted by No. 1-seed Purdue. The weekend games are already sold out.

“This is the hottest ticket in town, and people are excited,” Talty said. “We’re really excited to be able to host Purdue. They’re great partners of ours, and we’re excited for them and we hope that this just starts their march all the way to the Final Four.”

This isn’t the first time Purdue has played an NCAA Tournament game in Indianapolis. The last time was in Lucas Oil Stadium during the COVID tournament in 2021 when fans weren’t very close to the court.

This year, it’s in Gainbridge Fieldhouse, which is just an hour drive south on I-65. You can expect it to feel like Mackey Arena in here, and the Boilers couldn’t be more excited for it.

“It’s definitely huge,” Purdue sophomore guard Braden Smith said. “Back to back years we’ve played there it was like a home game, and super excited to be there.”

“Playing in an NBA arena for a Round of 64 matchup is something that you grow up wanting to do,” Purdue sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer said. “Just being so excited for that and not thinking about the outside attention, all the noise. Just being able to think about how you’re playing as a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament is pretty cool.”

You know what else is cool? Hosting the Final Four — which Indy will do in Lucas Oil Stadium in 2026.

“I think we’re going to try to think up some new things that fans can be a part of, and I really think it’s going to be a celebration of basketball,” Talty said. “It won’t just be that weekend. It will be all year and how fans can be excited and proud that their city and their state is the one that’s hosting the Final Four. And it’s going to be real special.”

Speaking of Final Fours, Purdue will try to start something special Friday when they play 16-seed Grambling State in the First Round.