Indianapolis continues to gain notoriety when it comes to sports.
The Indiana Fever recently won the 2012 WNBA Championships. The Indiana Pacers are entering their 2012-13 season with high praise. The Colts are riding high after surpassing last seasons win record. Indianapolis left sports aficionados nothing short of impressed after hosting the 2012 Super Bowl in February. With all of these elements smashed together, you get Indianapolis, Indiana – an emerging city when it comes to the world of professional sports.
Indianapolis received its first professional sports team in 1976 when the Pacers entered the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Colts then made their controversial overnight move to Indianapolis in 1984 and finally the Fever were added to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 2000. With the help of players like Reggie Miller and Peyton Manning, and more recently Andrew Luck, Indianapolis continued to gain momentum in the sports world.
Fast forward to 2006. The Indianapolis Colts make their first Super Bowl debut and pull off an incredible win. The Colts have always had a loyal following of fans, but this just increased their exposure.
Continue on to 2008. Indianapolis is selected as the host city of Super Bowl XLVI (46) in 2012. A city that typically sees brutally cold winters isn’t an ideal Super Bowl host city, but this was a chance to prove those skeptics wrong.
A major benefit to Indianapolis winning the hosting gig was the completion of the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts new home. Many stipulations also came along with hosting the Super Bowl as well. Over $1.5 billion was spent on building a new downtown hotel and adding onto the existing convention center. Georgia Street, an Indianapolis hot spot known for its restaurants, bars and nightlife, also received a multimillion-dollar facelift.
Throughout the days leading up to the Super Bowl and the days and weeks following, Indianapolis received nothing but positive feedback from its hosting abilities. So much positivity, in fact, that Indianapolis event organizers are already in the works to propose another bid to host a Super Bowl in the future.
Unfortunately, the Fever have never had as much “fame,” if you will, as the Pacers or the Colts, but by winning their first WNBA Championship, that will likely change in future seasons.
Hoosier athleticism expands beyond Interstate-465 that surrounds the Indianapolis area. Many of Indiana’s larger colleges and universities are well known for their athletic programs as well.
Year after year, Notre Dame continues to be well known for its football program as well as always having a dedicated legion of fans. Notre Dame’s women’s basketball program caught national attention last spring when they participated in the championship game of the Women’s NCAA Finals.
Butler University has seen their fair share of press in the past few years as well. Butler appeared in the Men’s NCAA National Championship game in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Though they lost both games, they were continuously the fan favorite, as they appeared to be the underdog and a likeable team. I attended my first Butler basketball game last winter at the prestigious Hinkle Fieldhouse and the wave of support that Butler has gained over past few seasons is pretty incredible and overwhelming.
Then you have the big rivalry: Indiana University (IU) and Purdue University. The rivalry between these two schools can best be described as something related to the Civil War – it’s a case of north vs. south. These Big 10 rivals always come out fighting for glory when they face each other, no matter the sport.
IU’s basketball program hasn’t seen an NCAA Championship win since 1987, but that all could change this year as they are expected to have one of the program’s best seasons on record.
Last week, USA Today named IU number one in the coaches preseason poll leaving Hoosier fans excited for the season to begin. After having an outstanding freshman season, seven-foot sophomore forward Cody Zeller has even been dubbed as the Big 10 Preseason Player of the Year. The Indiana native has been called by some as “possibly the best player to ever wear a Hoosier jersey.”
As you can see, Indiana athletes have done a superb job of proving their worth on each respective national stage. Whether it is a professional or collegiate team, season after season, these teams are showing they have more to prove.