The Indianapolis Colts‘ new Lucas Oil Stadium is about to open for business – fans have already been allowed in to kick the tires – and along with opening day come promises of an economic windfall to come:
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Taxpayers are footing most of the bill for the new stadium, but city and state leaders promise financial blessings will rain down on expectant Hoosiers.
“Folks are saying Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be a special place. So I think the cache of Lucas Oil Stadium is going to attract a lot of events that otherwise perhaps would not have looked at Indianapolis,” said Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business.
The Indiana Convention and Visitor’s Association expects the stadium and the expanded convention center to bring an additional 18 to 23 major conventions and trade shows and 4 to 5 large consumer shows.
So, are those expectations reasonable, or does the TV station reporting this have exceptionally appropriate call letters? I asked Heywood Sanders of the University of Texas, one of the foremost experts on the convention center industry; he replied that the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report that the convention association’s numbers are based on projects a 50% increase in convention business. “But PWC has a history of ‘over-predicting’ convention center performance,” he continued. “For the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the firm forecast an annual total 612,000 to 697,000 annual hotel room nights. The actual total for 2007 came to 364,577 – just a bit short. And there’s no reason to think that somehow, in a market overbuilt with convention center space, that Indianapolis is going to somehow be the great exception.”
But hey, at least there’ll be pork poppers.