While the pandemic has decimated the sports events industry and the hospitality sector that it fuels with hundreds of millions of dollars annually in Indianapolis, one sports executive says it has also presented opportunity. Indy and other sports-focused cities have pivoted in the age of the pandemic and Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn says the city’s connected downtown and history as a big event host have opened unique possibilities, including hosting the entire NCAA men’s basketball tournament next spring.
Vaughn says a deal for an all-Indy March Madness is still a work in progress. “There are just a lot of moving parts to make it a reality,” said Vaughn. “There are multiple competition venues, multiple practice facilities, coordination with the hotels, out public safety officials at the state and local levels, but in a typical Indianapolis fashion, everyone is working hard and in good faith and I’m optimistic that we will be able to get this done.”
Vaughn talked about the state of the business of sports in Indiana on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Indianapolis’ reputation as a sports capital is well-earned. When the Indiana Sports Corporation was formed in 1979, it was the first local sports organization in the country. Since that time, it is estimated that Indianapolis has hosted more than 400 major sporting events, with an economic impact in the billions of dollars.
The pandemic has forced the cancellation of numerous events, including the 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend in February, which will now take place in Indy in 2024.