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Indy economic boost expected during NFL Combine


By Matt Stefanski




Prospective players will rush the field, and coaches will look for their new recruits during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend.

The Combine, which will run from Saturday to Tuesday, is a yearly showcase that allows college football players to perform tests in front of scouts, coaches, spectators and media members.

Visit Indy, the official tourism website for Indianapolis, estimates the economic impact of the NFL Scouting Combine to be $5.5 million, Morgan Greenlee, senior communications manager for Visit Indy said in an email.

Greenlee said the NFL Scouting Combine started in 1982 and moved to Indianapolis in 1987.

Greenlee said 4,000 people are expected in Indianapolis for the Combine, which includes 333 NFL prospects and 800 media members.

“At the end of the day, they are going out to Indy restaurants and seeing and experiencing the city and hopefully loving it,” Greenlee said.

Greenlee said the visitor experience begins the second visitors stop off the plane in Indianapolis.

“We are known for our Hoosier hospitality,” Greenlee said. “I think that’s very evident from the time you step off a plane from the time you get to your hotel.”

Greenlee said more than 70,000 hospitality employees in Indianapolis have gone through service training called Super Service, which ensures workers have knowledge regarding Indianapolis.

“The Super Service program has played a very high role to ensure a high level of hospitality,” Greenlee said.

Phil Ray, general manager of Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, said the NFL staff, as well as some players, is staying at the Marriott for the Combine.

Ray said since the Combine is not a game, the coaches are more relaxed and are having a good time with their counterparts.

“From an economic standpoint, it’s just great,” Ray said. “We are in a sold-out situation for most points during the week.”

Ray said the Marriott has had a long history with the NFL, such as by accommodating the New York Giants during the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

“We are always going to try and make sure it’s a quality stay for all of our guests,” Ray said. “We have a lot more VIPs and potentially even some media-type folks.”

Greg Basey, owner of Basey’s Downtown Grill and Spirits a half-mile away from Lucas Oil Stadium, said the Combine increases revenue for his business.

“It’s about like anything else,” Basey said. “The conventions and other events that go on downtown bring in revenue to most bar and restaurant owners.”

Basey said during the Combine, he tunes most of the televisions in his grill to the NFL Network.

“We have welcome signs that we put outside the building, because of the fact it is televised,” Basey said.

John Dedman, vice president of communications for Indiana Sports Corporation, which brings other sporting events to Indianapolis, said the Combine has had an indirect impact on his company.

“It allows us to have a number of key NFL decision makers in Indianapolis in bringing the Super Bowl here in 2012 and possibly 2018,” Dedman said. “Of course, it’s also a great branding opportunity and sports initiative here.”

Dedman said the event gives people the opportunity to brand Indianapolis.

“I think it is a huge advantage to have the Combine here in Indianapolis as we were bidding on the Super Bowl,” Dedman said. “To have all the players be familiar with Indianapolis and have them previously at the RCA Dome and now at the Lucas Oil Stadium and see that all the opportunities it has to offer is invaluable.”

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