Indy to Host 2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game

Indianapolis‘ reputation for hosting major sporting events has helped the city land yet another. Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany announced on Thursday that the first ever Big Ten football championship game will be played in downtown Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2011.

With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten starting next season, the conference will possess 12 members, which is number of participants the NCAA requires to have a postseason championship game. The Indy event is expected to bring in thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to the city.

Some estimates gauge the economic impact to be around $10 million, but Bill Benner of the Indiana Business Journal has said that figure could balloon to as much as $20 or $30 million depending on which teams are participating in the game. Universities such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State have very loyal and enthusiastic fan bases, and their appearance in the title game would completely fill Indianapolis hotels and downtown Indianapolis restaurants for the entirety of the weekend.

Indiana Sports Corp, the organization responsible for bringing the Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball tournament, the Final Four and the 2012 Super Bowl to the city, were again integral in securing Indy as the host of for the event.

There was no formal bidding process, though Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, and Minneapolis were also being considered. The Big Ten will work closely with Indiana Sports Corp over the next 30 days to stamp out details regarding the one-year contract. After that, extensive research will go into deciding where the game is hosted in the future.

Some conferences stick to one location, while others — the Southeastern Conference for example — rotate between several different venues. Regardless, Indianapolis figures to be involved in some capacity. As Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel recently said:

“Indianapolis is the capital city of college athletics.”

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