INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) — The City of Indianapolis is trying to keep the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis after 2024.
The year’s combine is the 36th straight in Indianapolis, but the city had to put in a bid for the first time and was ultimately awarded hosting rights for 2023 and 2024.
This year’s Combine in Indianapolis goes from February 28 through March 6.
This marked the first time that the combine host was put up to a bid, a process that the NFL has used for the Super Bowl and the NFL draft. Dallas and Los Angeles were the other cities that submitted bids to host the combine.
Nate Swick, the senior communications manager for the city’s tourism arm, Visit Indy, told WISH-TV on Monday, “Sports are a key piece of our identity here in Indianapolis. It’s what we’re best at. It’s something we don’t take for granted even though we do host many, many sporting events. It’s something that we put all of our marbles in this basket.”
Chris Gahl, the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Visit Indy, said in May that the combine brings in $9.6 million to the local economy each year.
Swick said the partnership with IU Health to complete necessary athlete tests sets Indianapolis above other contenders.
“A lot of stadiums wouldn’t be able to bring the IU Health and the medical facilities to the stadium, and make all of those exams go so smoothly,” said Swick.
A newer component will let fans to have direct access to what was a closed-door event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the south lot outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, you’ll see something we’ve never had before: this massive fan experience,” Swick said. “We’re hoping to grow the inside look as well.”
Swick said continuing to grow the event is a key part of having a competitive bid for 2025.
“As we look to our current bid that was one of our main pieces,” Swick said. “We said, ‘Alright, NFL. How do you want to grow this and how can we help you grow this event?’ And so that’s why you’ll see a lot more fan interactions the last couple of years.”
Another thing in Indianapolis’ favor: the city itself. Visit Indy says it is the right size and has the service industry to support a large event plus the skywalks that connect the Indiana Convention Center, hotels and Lucas Oil Stadium.
Story by Danielle Zulkosky
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