INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Add another line to Indianapolis’ immaculate event hosting résumé.
Less than two weeks after welcoming the largest post-pandemic sporting crowd in the world at the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, the top minds in the NCAA college football world converged on the Circle City.
This coming January, Lucas Oil Stadium opens its doors to what may be its most ruckus crowd ever.
The College Football Playoff’s Executive Director Bill Hancock is a newspaper man at heart. On Wednesday, Hancock envisioned the dramatic scenes on the field and around downtown Indianapolis that will become reality on Jan. 10, 2022 following the national championship game.
“‘The College Football Playoff world comes to Indianapolis’, and the sub-headline is, ‘sees all of the charms of this awesome city!'” Hancock said.
Hancock, who now calls Kansas City home, headed up the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four for over a decade beginning in 1989.
Following the national semifinals on Dec. 31 in Arlington, Texas, and Miami, Florida, two fanbases will return in full force to the title game.
“This will be different than Indianapolis’ other events, in a couple of ways,” Hancock said. “Different than a [men’s basketball] Final Four. It won’t be the Super Bowl. There is nothing like the Super Bowl. But it is going to be darn close.”
Over 100,000 out-of-town visitors are expected to make the trek to Indianapolis, creating a “conservative” economic impact of $150 million dollars, according to local organizers.
“The best thing we have going for us in Indianapolis are the volunteers,” 2022 Indianapolis College Football Playoff Committee President Susan Baughman said. “They really turned out for March Madness. They turned out for straight three weeks.”
“If you think about that, we are going to put that lightning in the bottle, and we are going to use it again for college football,” she added.
For local fans who don’t have a rooting interest but want to join in on the action, the organized hoopla we missed for March Madness due to the pandemic should return to epic levels for the post-New Year’s bash.
Anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 volunteers are expected to aid what is being billed as a five-day event from start to finish.
“For four days, we have built a championship campus downtown, with lots of free events that are accessible,” 2022 Indianapolis College Football Playoff Committee Board Chair Mark Howell said. “We will have a fan fest, we will have media day, we will have concerts and lots of surprises and activations.”