Indianapolis secret for attracting Super Bowls & Final Fours – “under-promise, over-deliver”

by Kent Sterling

The Indianapolis skyline doesn't scream for visitors, but cities are made of people, not buildings.

The Indianapolis skyline doesn’t scream for visitors, but cities are made of people, not buildings.

Listening to smart people is vastly underrated, and when Indiana Sports Corporation president Allison Melangton explained to me today the reason Indianapolis is so successful in attracting a relentless stream of huge sporting events as, “We under promise and over deliver,” I thought it’s that kind of smart that makes Indianapolis work.

In other cities, the game is to get the most while providing the least.  There is infighting among government entities, all with their hands out, and the happiness and convenience of the fans is an afterthought at best.  Those aren’t Melangton’s words – they are mine.  I’ve seen it many times in cities other than Indianapolis.

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For those like Melangton and her staff, the challenge is to continue to raise the bar despite competing only with itself in terms of delivering infrastructure, ease of operation, honesty, and willingness to accommodate.

Smart people – really smart people – always communicate concepts simply.   “Everyone involved is always eager to help,” Melangton said of the government leaders whose help is needed to successfully host a Super Bowl or Final Four.  When the state, city, and organizers work toward the same goal, it’s hard not to succeed.

Melangton reminded me of the Dave Thomas quote that hung in Wendy’s restaurants for many years, “Just be nice.”  Say what you mean and hold the flowery hipster babble.  It works in Indianapolis, and Indianapolis works for organizations who want a host city that delivers without drama.

Mediocre minds like to show off their ability to overanalyze by creating Rube Goldberg versions of mission statements and labyrinthian credos that combine 40 different buzzwords that serve no purpose other than to baffle, “The Sterling Corporation pledges to bring impactful solutions to the table through the holistic leveraging of proactive paradigms to push the envelope toward robust sustainability with streamlined empowerment and bandwidth exploitation.”  The Sterling Corporation is not run by a person with great clarity of thought.

Melangton has no desire to be perceived as anything but supportive, creative, diligent, and clear.

Over the next year, she and her crew will have plenty of opportunities to prove their mettle as they prepare and execute their presentation to earn the right to host the 2018 Super Bowl, get ready to welcome tens of thousands for the increasingly Super Bowl-esque 2015 Final Four, the Big Ten Football Championship, and countless other events.

Indianapolis will welcome visitors with big smiles, helpful advice, and clarity of purpose.  Other cities treat visitors like a cranky rich uncle who’s tolerated under the well runs dry.

Sports fans like coming to Indianapolis, not for casinos, thrills, or pictures of landmarks worthy of a Facebook post.  This city works for two reasons – it was built with this precise purpose in mind, and Indy is filled with good and happy people who tell the truth and like each other and their guests.

Indianapolis is a great place to visit because it’s a great place to live.  The phrase “Hoosier hospitality” is sometimes inferred to mean that people from Indiana are saps.  Nope, just glad to be here.

2 thoughts on “Indianapolis secret for attracting Super Bowls & Final Fours – “under-promise, over-deliver”

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Thanks so much. It’s the most fun I have while I’m awake, minus writing about John Calipari.


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