Whether you like football or loathe it, there’s no denying that the Super Bowl is the marquee sports event in this country. Among annual sporting events worldwide, only the World Cup soccer tournament rivals the Super Bowl’s mass appeal.

In 2012, Indianapolis will host the Super Bowl, feasting on the publicity bonanza that goes along with it. Anderson, too, will bathe in the bright lights cast by this premiere sports and social event, while suffering little of the four-year headache that will sock Indy as preparations for the big game are made.

The expenses of Super Bowling are supersize:

• Private investors have pledged $25 million to host the game and pay for all of the sideshows and infrastructure that go along with it.

• This is in addition to the $750 million, mostly in public money, that it has cost to build Lucas Oil Stadium, where the NFL’s Colts will play their home games beginning in the fall and where the Super Bowl will be played in 2012. Without this new stadium, Indy would never have approached the starting line in the Super Bowl race.

• An additional $7 million is needed to build a second practice facility (the Colts training complex on the west side will serve one of the teams) for the Super Bowl in Indy.

• And then there’s the estimated $1 million to $2 million in public safety expenses that Indy will provide during Super Bowl festivities. And the city must supply thousands of NFL-reserved hotel rooms free of sales and hotel taxes.

You get the picture: Indy is committed to spending a nearly unspeakable fortune to bring the Super Bowl home to Indiana. While the expenses mount, the potential payoff is tougher to figure. Experts promise the value will far exceed the sacrifice:

• The economic impact at local eateries, retailers, hotels and other businesses is projected to be at least $100 million, not including tax revenue estimated to approach $20 million.

• The $9 million athletic facility being built as a practice venue for the Super Bowl will be turned over to Indianapolis Public Schools after the Super Bowl and will be a major upgrade for athletes who go to Tech High School and other IPS schools.

• Accompanying the athletic facility will be a revitalization of an area of more than 30 city blocks. This neighborhood is riddled with violent crime and stunted by poverty. Already, Indianapolis has created a tax-increment financing district to fund at least $5 million in infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood.

• The value of positive public relations — particularly if (cross your fingers) the weather cooperates — for Indianapolis is difficult to overestimate. If Indy had to make a cash payoff for each time the city is mentioned during the two-week Super Bowl run-up, the game itself and the post-game partying and analysis, it would surely run above nine figures.

Closer to home, the tide of the Super Bowl will wash some of the economic boon to Anderson, which will shoulder none of the extraordinary expense. Hotel rooms here, for instance, will surely be in demand. And the casino at Hoosier Park is a natural attraction for the Super Bowl hordes in the days leading up to the game. Local economic development officials, however, shouldn’t merely stand by and await the Super Bowl largesse.

They should begin planning now to draw the event’s crowds farther into Anderson and elsewhere in Madison County for entertainment, food and fun.

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