Super Bowl XLVI: It’s Only Halftime in Indianapolis

Posted by Lisa Sirkin Vielee

Already the experts are saying the boost to Indianapolis from hosting the Super Bowl may be short- term and not as robust as the city may like. While city leaders tally the results and marketing and social media analysts, like Exact Target, crunch the numbers from the Super Bowl, I think any report about the impact of hosting the big game is premature.

Let’s face it folks. Indianapolis has only played half the game. Yes, Indianapolis hosted and executed a near flawless Super Bowl. Yes, it is important to assess what we’ve done so far. It’s okay to pat ourselves on the back for 5.7 million tweets, 1.1 million visits to Super Bowl Village, 8,000 volunteers and countless celebrity sightings.  But we still have a way to go to create a positive economic return on the Super Big investment and capitalize on the city’s national brand exposure.

Here’s what we, as marketers, social media experts; heck, as residents of Indianapolis, need to do next to help the ICVA, Indiana Sports Corp. and others make the big plays:

1. Don’t stop tweeting, writing and bragging about Indianapolis. Jolene Ketzenberger has a terrific story in The Indianapolis Star about celebrities shining a light on local, independent restaurants during the Super Bowl.  We have some great restaurants in this city. So the next time someone claims Indy is the chain-restaurant capital of the world, look them in the eye and invite them to meet you at Recess. Or R Bistro. Or Goose the Market. Or Ball & Biscuit. Fly them in if you have to. Just dispel this and the other many myths about our city.

2. Volunteer for IDI to help develop the plans for the Georgia Street corridor.  Don’t just wonder if Georgia Street will get the right mix of patio dining and cool events, be a part of making it happen.

3. Support local bands, events, museums and arts districts. The outlying areas had mixed reviews when it came to Super Bowl traffic. That’s too bad, because there are so many great places in central Indiana to experience. Use the Super Celebration Sites map as your guide and be a tourist in your back yard.

4. Enjoy the legacies of the Super Bowl. Visit the 46 for XLVI murals, go see the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center (the Legacy Fitness Zone is free in February), and donate at the next Komen Tissue Bank SuperCure event on March 10.

5. Come up with the next the big idea. As the Super Bowl showed us, even scarves can become a big deal. We all have great ideas. But are we willing to do the hard work to make them happen?

6. Send convention leads to the ICVA. You may not work with the NFL but you might work with the top brass in your industry or field.  The next time you go out of town for a conference or training session, invite the event planners to consider Indianapolis for its next regional or national level event. There are plenty of hotel rooms and meeting space to go around – and they won’t fill themselves.

7. Stop the inferiority complex. When I was a teenager and would get in a mood, my father used to tell me to “pretend to be happy.” Sound dumb? Well it worked more often than not. So why not “pretend to be a big league city”? If we stop comparing ourselves to our larger counterparts and start taking pride in what we have to offer, we may just find others comparing themselves to us.

Twenty years from now, Hoosiers will talk about the Super Bowl the way we currently talk about the Pan Am Games – as a game changer. We are in the middle of changing the way our city is perceived and recognized.  But we aren’t even in the red zone yet. We can’t stop now, the momentum has just turned our way.

Image from flickr/indywriter

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