Hoosier Hall of Fame: Sports Corp’s Ripple Effects

Civic vision (and opportunism) take Indy’s rep from sorry to super.

This story is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes our list of the 200 Hoosier Hall of Fame picks, designated throughout in bold or highlighted. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.

Follow the ripple effects below.


Indiana Sports Corp founded
The federal Amateur Sports Act of 1978 sought to promote amateur athletics and required each Olympic sport to have a governing body, so Indy leaders—including Mayor William Hudnut III and future Indiana Supreme Court justice Ted Boehm—form this first-of-its-kind organization. The goal: Turn “Indianoplace” into the nation’s amateur-sports capital by luring the newly mandated Olympic governing bodies and big spectator events.


National Sports Festival Comes to Indy

Indianapolis—particularly the IUPUI campus—undergoes a transformation with the addition of new venues, including the Natatorium, Michael A. Carroll Stadium, and the Major Taylor Velodrome, in preparation for the event. Indy becomes the first city in the festival’s history to post a financial gain.


Hoosier Dome completed

In an effort to lure an NFL franchise, the city constructs the $80 million stadium using grants from the Lilly Endowment and the Krannert Charitable Trust, and tax revenues.


Colts arrive from Baltimore

After negotiations over Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium improvements reach an impasse, Hudnut convinces Colts owner Robert Irsay to relocate his team to Indy. In March, Mayflower moving trucks provided by Hudnut’s neighbor bring Indianapolis an NFL franchise.


Indy scores Pan Am Games

The city had put in a bid for the 1991 games, but economic and political strife in Santiago, Chile, make hosting the ’87 event there untenable. For pulling off the Games, Indy draws raves.


The NCAA picks Indy

Hoping to save $50 million over two decades, the NCAA announces it will move its headquarters from Overland Park, Kansas, to Indianapolis.


Colts find a new QB

With the first pick in the 1998 draft, the Colts select Peyton Manning of Tennessee over Washington State signal-caller Ryan Leaf. Nearly a decade later, Manning leads the Colts to a Super Bowl XLI win.


Indy proposes a new NFL stadium

The city puts forth a plan for a state-of-the-art stadium to replace the aging RCA (nee Hoosier) Dome with the hope of keeping owner Jim Irsay’s Colts from leaving town—and of luring the Super Bowl. Three years later, the retractable roof on the $700-million–plus Lucas Oil Stadium opens for business.


NFL chooses Indy’s bid to host 2012 Super Bowl


JW Marriott alters Indy skyline

Built in part on the promise of Indy’s anticipated Super Bowl, the sleek, 34-story, 2,248-room hotel—the largest in the company’s international portfolio—is one of the tallest and most visually striking additions to the city skyline in two decades.


Super Bowl XLVI

More than 116,000 out-of-towners visit what many observers and attendees believe to be the best-run Super Bowl ever. The event generates an estimated economic impact of $324 million, brings top-tier celebs like Madonna, Katy Perry, and Jimmy Fallon—who hosts a special edition of the Tonight Show at Hilbert Circle Theatre—and boosts the city’s rep big-time.


The New York Times includes Indianapolis on its list of 52 places in the world to travel

Continuing to reap the benefits of the Super Bowl spotlight, Indy places ahead of Vienna, Nepal, and Athens. The city had put in a bid for the 1991 games, but economic and political strife in Santiago, Chile, make hosting the ’87 event there untenable. For pulling off the Games, Indy draws raves.