November 12 2013

Using Sports for Urban Planning? How Indianapolis, Indiana Became the ‘Amateur Sports Capital of the World’

Indianapolis, Indiana is home to the National Collegiate Athletic Association headquarters, the National Federal of State High School Associations and several NCAA athletic conferences. This hub of amateur sports associations may seem coincidental, but in fact, it was carefully planned. It is said that Indianapolis is branded as the “Amateur Sports Capital of the World.”

NCAA Headquarters, Indianapolis

In the 70s and 80s, Indianapolis began updating and building sporting arenas in order to make the city more desirable for large sporting events. In 1987, the city hosted the Pan American games, where athletes from thirty-eight countries competed. It is argued that hosting the Pan American games was the turning point for Indianapolis. Since then, Indianapolis has hosted men’s college final four games, Big 10 events and even the Super Bowl.

In 1999, the NCAA narrowed the search for its national headquarters down to Kansas City, Oklahoma and Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis was declared the winner, since it is a more central location and over two thirds of NCAA members are east of the Mississippi River.

The NCAA Hall of Champions, a museum dedicated to the greatest moments in NCAA history, is just across the way from the national headquarters. The museum is situated along the Indianapolis Canal Walk with several other museums.

NCAA Hall of Champions, Indianapolis

The NFHS serves all fifty states and the District of Columbia as a guide for rules and regulations for sports for young men and women. They focus on providing youth with interscholastic sports opportunities to improve success in everyday life and looking towards the future.

Indianapolis realized its potential early on, and utilized urban planning and economic development practices to create a mecca for amateur sports by improving facilities, which then increased their chances at hosting big events and becoming the headquarters of many sports related associations.

Does your community use sports to its advantage? How does your city incorporate sports teams into a way of branding downtown or neighborhoods?

Credits: Images by Laura Granieri. Data linked to sources.

Laura Granieri

Laura Granieri graduated from Ball State University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor in Urban & Regional Planning. Upon graduating, she moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She currently works as Program Coordinator at Midtown Indianapolis, Inc. Laura is passionate about urban planning and the relationship between people and the cities in which they live. In her free time, she enjoys attending events around downtown Indy. For The Grid, Laura will be writing about the exciting changes happening in Indianapolis as the city focuses on redevelopment projects, a new transportation system, and a downtown comprehensive plan.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 9:35 am and is filed under Branding, Community/Economic Development, Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Using Sports for Urban Planning? How Indianapolis, Indiana Became the ‘Amateur Sports Capital of the World’”

  1. Laura Granieri | The GRID Blog Archive Says:

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