The sports industry in Central Indiana is thriving. Just as we are in the midst of one of the country's most high-profile run of events - a successful 2010 NCAA Men's Final Four, with the 2011 NCAA Women's Final Four and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 on the horizon - our city learns of another crown jewel being added to our sporting events schedule: the inaugural Big Ten football championship game in 2011.
Indianapolis is in the heart of Big Ten country. We welcome the tens of thousands of visitors this event will bring to our hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, museums, and Lucas Oil Stadium. What does this mean for us? It brings tremendous economic impact of visitors spending their money in Downtown Indianapolis. It helps to brand Indianapolis as an attractive place to live, work and visit through a national television audience and hundreds of media bylines.
Civic leaders more than 30 years ago began this sports movement, constructing exemplary venues and forging relationships with key sports entities. There is no greater compliment the Big Ten could give the City of Indianapolis or Indiana Sports Corp than handing the responsibility of hosting this inaugural championship game over to the trusted individuals they have worked with for decades. Our resume and our results have led to this amazing opportunity.
Thank you to Indiana Sports Corp, its staff and its volunteers, for leading this sports movement, which continues to be a tremendous asset. As Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel said, "Indianapolis is the capital city of college athletics." Thank you, Big Ten Conference, for your confidence in us and for this opportunity. Our goal is to put on an event that makes you want to bring it back to Indy time and time again.