While Indianapolis has long had a reputation as a premier big event city, sports and tourism officials say over the past five years, Indy has increasingly been losing out on sports and tourism events to cities and states with a competitive advantage. Publicly funded event bid funds, designed to supplement private investment, are being used by Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Orlando, among others, to cherry pick events Indianapolis wants. A bill at the Indiana Statehouse would create a fund targeting potential events for cities throughout Indiana.
”We’ve increasingly seen the competitive advantage that comes along with these bid funds is significant, and so this bill seeks to correct that,” said Indianapolis State Senator Kyle Walker, one of the bill’s authors.
Walker talked about the bill and reaction to it on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Senate Bill 245 would create a fund administered by the Indiana Destination Development Corp. and managed by the Indiana Sports Corp. The IDDC would distribute the amount appropriated by the Indiana General Assembly to ISC, which would award grants to organizations throughout the state to help in their bidding efforts to attract events.
The bill specifies that at least 25 percent of the funds would go toward events held outside of Marion County.
As for how large the fund would be, Walker says that would be determined in time for next year’s budget-writing session of the General Assembly.
“This year we’re focused on building the framework…and then taking the next year to talk with fellow legislators and try to come up with what is that right number,” said Walker. “It’s too early to tell what that amount is…other bid funds ranges from very small to very large…and we’ll take the time to find the right amount and go from there.”