Study: Gen Z’s views of Indy’s leisure and entertainment sector
A new study conducted by Visit Indy, IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute and Indianapolis-based market research firm SMARInsights examined what Generation Z thinks about Indianapolis as a place to live. The oldest Gen Z’ers are about 26 years old. The study examined the future of Indianapolis’ hospitality, tourism, sports and events industries.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, David Pierce, director of the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute, said the partners are looking ahead to the future and want to understand what the maturing consumer group prioritizes in terms of quality of life.
“This was a very clear top four,” said Pierce. “It was cost of living, housing and rental costs, job opportunities, and safety from crime. Every way we could analyze it, it was a very clear top four.”
Study surveyors interviewed 500 Gen Z’ers. Seventy-five percent of respondents lived outside of Marion County. The average age was 22 years old.
While the study examined what may attract the age group to live in the metro area, it also wanted to determine what amenities are needed to retain them as residents.
“Practical living things are what’s going to attract you, but what’s going to keep you? The things to see and do, the sports, the events,” said Pierce.
The study presented participants with 11 potential new leisure amenities, developments, or experiences that could be added in Indianapolis.
The three items that Gen Z residents found the most attractive are a riverwalk experience along the White River, urban adventure experiences, such as ziplines, and a themed amusement park.
“So that could mean a lot of different things. But picture like a Navy Pier-type of thing…in Chicago.”
However, Pierce said creating a walkway along the White River through Hamilton and Marion counties provided the most potential.
“The riverwalk experience along the White River, which there are already initiatives underway, that was by far, clearly statistically, the top result,” said Pierce.
Last month, Indianapolis-based developer, Keystone Group, released new details about Eleven Park, a $1 billion downtown mixed-use development project. It includes a 20,000-seat soccer stadium and a 4,000-seat entertainment venue.
Keystone founder Ersal Ozdemir says a key aspect of the project is to take advantage of the site along the White River and boost development in an area that has been largely industrial for decades.
“We want to do what we can, on our scale and our site along the White River,” Ozdemir said. “It will offer amazing opportunities in a complementary neighborhood to downtown Indianapolis.”
The study revealed opportunities to develop new quality of life amenities, but it also measured the success Indianapolis’ sports and tourism sectors are already enjoying. The results show Indianapolis scores well with “must-see” sports venues, museums and iconic attractions. The Circle City also scored favorable ratings when compared to drivable destinations for fun and leisure, including Nashville, Louisville and Columbus, Ohio.
“And the bottom line is Indianapolis is right on par with Nashville. And as we know, Nashville has built out a nice brand reputation for kind of the getaway weekend,” said Pierce. “Indy and Nashville significantly outpaced the perception of Louisville and Columbus.”
The results of the study were revealed Wednesday evening when more than 200 industry professionals gathered to discuss future growth and opportunities during “NEXTGEN Indy: Building Indy’s Brand around Sports and Entertainment.”
Pierce says Indy’s hospitality, tourism and sports industries already have strong collaborative practices, and those efforts must continue in the future, so “we can better understand and support the top talent and consumers that will drive tourism and events growth and development in our city.”