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What’s next in Indianapolis after NBA All-Star Game? NCAA tournament, US Olympic Trials

Indy wraps NBA All-Star Game weekend; gear goes on sale for half-off

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The NBA packed up and moved out of Indianapolis on Monday, and tens and thousands of fans hit the road and headed back home as well.

Those fans stayed at hotels, shopped, and ate at restaurants, all of which had an impact on the local economy, supporting jobs and helping the city bring in tax dollars.

By most accounts, city officials expressed pride in what happened during the NBA All-Star Game weekend. It boosted tourism, put money in the pockets of people who needed it, and put the city on the international stage.

The effort began early. As tens of thousands of people poured into the city last week, police had been planning for nearly a year.

“A big part of our job is to keep people safe, but it’s also to be ambassadors for the city,” said Lt. Shane Foley, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

He said the department’s biggest issue of the weekend was a small one: traffic. Foley said there were ” no significant incidents.”

Foley says teams within IMPD will submit reports to the department for a final after-action report, an internal document that allows the department to look at what went well and where they need to improve before the next big event.

The NBA’s festivities kicked off Thursday with a large-scale event at Bicentennial Unity Plaza outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the site of Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Chris Gahl, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Visit Indy, said, “We are ecstatic at the way the All-Star weekend unfolded, even with the snow.”

The NBA forecasted the entire four-day weekend to bring an economic impact of some $320 million. Gahl says it could turn out to be more after the final numbers are crunched.

“In the next 10 days, our hotels will report just how occupied they were and what types of rates they were able to command. That is a key indicator for the overall economic activity for any event our city hosts,” Gahl said

Danny Lopez, vice president for external affairs and corporate communication at Pacers Sports & Entertainment, says he believes the final numbers could be higher. He said a report will be run “toward the middle of the year.”

“We were able to support small businesses,” Lopez said.

Lopez points to future events — the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament from March 22-24 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, and and U.S. Olympic Team Trials for swimming from June 15-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium — as things to look forward to for more economic muscle.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.