Superbowl XLVI - Indianapolis

Posted on by drewgingrich

The Super Bowl is a large event that attracts a lot of spectators every year. Thousands of people with different economic and social backgrounds will flood into the hosting city where they will give a boost the local economy; but for how long? And with the event being hosted in a new city each year, it also brings along with it, a flurry of excitement and a range of environmental and economic impacts.  

The City of Indianapolis has been pouring a large amount of money into preparing the city to look its best for our Super bowl visitors. There have been numerous capital city improvements to roads, buildings, and parks, as well as clean-up efforts. Teams of people and artists have been putting either efforts into beautifying the city with murals, lights, graphics.  The city has been adding flashy lights to trees in order to highlight areas like trendy Mass Ave. with bars and restaurants. Georgia Street has been completely re-designed to host a “Super bowl Village.”  This will be a one-stop-shop for entertainment, shopping, and other festivities including a 70 foot high zip line through the air.

While this is all good and exciting, there are also a lot of unintended negative impacts that a hosting city will face. In a recent work e-mail, we were told to pay closer attention to our personal belongings because of suspected pick-pockets that will be visiting town just for Super Bowl. This seems to be a relatively minor and justifiable concern, but while a spike of crime has been seen in every hosting city around the time of the Super Bowl, the city of Indianapolis will still suffer the judgment from the victims of such crime.

Another concern with such a large event is the amount of trash generated, and I wonder what, if any strategies are currently in place to reduce and/or recycle our waste. I found one website claiming that the 4 days of Super Bowl events in 2004, generated nearly 428 tons of trash.

I think one of the most interesting things to think about is the end balance after calculating what has been invested into the city in preparation for this event, and how that relates to the long term costs associated with these investments after the quick spike in economic growth has passed. I wonder how many optimistic plans and investments will not be able to be sustained long term after the Super Bowl. I also wonder which investments (small or large) will pay off exponentially because of this Event. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think it’s important to be aware of the successes and failures of our investments and what they can tell us about either the hosting city, or the event itself.