Visit Indy 'Very Optimistic' About Keeping NFL Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is underway in downtown Indianapolis and the city is fending off competition to host the event past 2020. Other major cities such as Los Angeles and Dallas are vying to take the week-long event away from Indy, however Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl says the organization is "very optimistic" about the city's chances of continuing to serve as host. Indianapolis has hosted the combine every year since 1987.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Gahl says negotiations with the NFL are ongoing with more meetings taking place this week. He says this year's event is expected to generate an $8.4 million economic impact and attract a record 5,000 total attendees.
"We would hope in the next few months to come to terms and hope that Indianapolis again wins out as the best city in the nation to host an event like this. We feel that. We know that," said Gahl. "We also know that other major cities are viciously and aggressively vying to take this event form Indianapolis and so, again, we have to work with a sense of urgency as a community to make sure we keep them safe and sound. We feel like we're on the right path. We're in the red zone and we hope we score another touchdown for Indy here in the coming weeks."
Gahl says the city's plan to expand the Indiana Convention Center and add two new hotels in downtown Indy is playing a major part in the bid to continue hosting the combine. He adds having the ability to areas of Lucas Oil Stadium as a "mini hospital" curing the combine with direct fiber access to Indiana University Health facilities also works in the city's favor.
Carly Slivinsky, senior manager of event operations and logistics for the NFL, was asked about the speculation of other cities looking to host the combine and told Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman the league is "focusing on building this event here in Indianapolis."
Slivinsky says the city has been a great partner for the last 30 years.
"We love that the Crowne Plaza where the prospects stay is attached to the stadium. They can walk right from the hotel to the stadium, do their on-field drills, do their media and then the hospital is right downtown, too, and they do over 400 MRIs over the weekend, which is incredible," said Slivinsky. "Indianapolis has great people. Like I said, they've been a great partner of ours throughout the Super Bowl, the combine and it's really the people that make this city what it is."