Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Super Bowl Bid

Here is yet another post that started out as a comment for someone else. In this case, I was going to mention as a comment to Justin’s post here that the new Lucas Oil Stadium’s seating capacity would be about 63,000 seats (this according to Stadiums Of The NFL, although I have heard numbers as high as 68,000 for basic seating - and it can be expanded to between 70,000 and 73,000 seats). Being able to expand out to at least 70,000 seats was an important design element, because it allows Indianapolis to bid to host the Super Bowl, which requires a minimum of 70,000 seats.

A minimum of 70,000 seats. Both the Indianapolis Star and ESPN report, in articles related to this story, that the new stadium in Arlington, Texas, will have upwards of 100,000 seats. Damn. All of the best hospitality service in the world won’t make up for 27,000-odd seats that we won’t have here in Indianapolis. (The ESPN article attributes to Jerry Jones information stating that the new home of the Cowboys could conceivably contain a capacity crowd of 120,000.)

Why not? The Colts have just lately been able to sell enough season tickets to basically fill the 57,000-seat Hoosier Dome for every home game - and that’s with this Colts team at the apex of its excellence. Not only would taxpayers here never have gone for a stadium as big as the one that’s going to house the Cowboys, but once this Colts team goes into decline and a rebuilding process starts, season ticket sales will dry up.

According to numbers from the 2000 census that I checked in the New York Times Almanac, the Indianapolis metroplex population is about 1.6 million. By contrast, the Dallas metroplex population is about 5.2 million. That’s a hell of a lot bigger fan base for season ticket sales. Oh, and the Dallas Cowboys, sometimes referred to as America’s Team, have won five - count ‘em, five - Super Bowls. Plus, the weather in Texas in early February is typically better than the early February weather in Indianapolis.

(And yes, Detroit’s Ford Field did just host the 2006 Super Bowl, though its capacity, according to its web site and the NFL Stadiums web site I linked to above, is only about 65,000. Maybe the 70,000 seat thing is new - or it could be that the owners actually had a chance to see a game in Ford Field, which opened in 2002, which was probably roughly when Detroit put in its bid for the 2006 game. The new home of the Colts won’t open until 2008.)

I was hoping that the owners would pick Indianapolis for the 2011 Super Bowl, but from a seating standpoint, it makes sense that they went with Dallas. Arizona lost out due to logistics issues, and some sort of squabble about a parking lot. Indianapolis lost, reportedly, by two votes, 17-15 (although I was under the impression that the three owners involved would not be voting, so how did we get up to thirty-two total votes?) Anyway, no hard feelings to Dallas, an NFL tradition-rich city if ever there was one. Once Lucas Oil Stadium opens, and people see how well we run it, Indianapolis can throw in another bid; and once we get one, I think the door will be wide open to several more in the future. Say what you will about this city, but we put on a damn fine sporting event. If Detroit can get a Super Bowl, so can Indianapolis.

No comments: