Indianapolis’ first big test to see whether it was ready or not for the Super Bowl was this past Saturday in the Big Ten Championship football game between Michigan State and Wisconsin in Lucas Oil Stadium.
If I were to give the city a grade of whether it was ready or not, I would give Indianapolis a D. I thought the city would be more ready than this with hosting the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 every year, eight Final Fours, and the men’s and women’s Big Ten Tournaments every year in March.
The city just isn’t ready, and I don’t know if it will be by time February hits.
The problem was that there was more foot traffic than I’ve ever seen, and with the way the stop lights are set up in Indy you couldn’t turn right at any of them. Usually when your light is green that’s the time people can cross the street on the other side. Saturday there were groups upon groups of people crossing, and made it nearly impossible to turn right.
The only way to help this is by creating tunnels or bridges, but it’s far too late for that. They can help by having cops at every street corner, but it still will create traffic chaos.
The other big problem is that bars/restaurants just aren’t big enough to hold everyone. As of three hours before game time ,every bar/restaurant had a huge line outside due to them being at or near capacity. It took us more than an hour just to find somewhere to go, and we got lucky due to people leaving a local establishment that we got in.
This can’t happen for the Super Bowl because there will be a ton more people here, and it will be February so most people will look to stay warm inside somewhere. On Saturday it was unseasonably warm in Indianapolis with temps in the 50s, so people were OK with being outside. In February it will be almost 40 degrees cooler and most likely snow will be on the ground. People will get irate that they have to wait in the cold just to get in somewhere.
I know of a handful of bars downtown that actually ran out of beer. Even the Big Ten Championship Village ran out of of some very popular beers.
How can this happen on championship weekend?
Bars had to get shipments rushed in by police escort. Are you kidding me, Indianapolis?
There’s really no way to cure the first problem of overcrowding. Bars/restaurants can’t expand this late to hold more people. There’s just not enough space or enough establishments to go where fans will want to go before a game, if you know what I mean. Downtown Indianapolis just isn’t big enough.
As for the running-out-of-beer situation, that is truly unacceptable. The city didn't plan enough for this, and I'm scared to see what's going to happen during Super Bowl week.
I was born and raised in Indianapolis, and I don't mean to bash my own city, especially with Super Bowl coming in, but I feel this needs to get out there.
I hope the city can improve on these things, because if not this will be the first time and the last time a Super Bowl will come here. It will be a nightmare for all parties involved and something that won't be turned around that late.