Columbus… an NFL City? And other final Super Bowl thoughts…
Here’s a couple thoughts as we wrap up our coverage of SB XLVI in Indy.
I received a call after our show Thursday night from our buddy Steve Helwagen from Bucknuts.com who posed a simple question. If Indy can do this, why can’t Columbus?
Maybe Steve makes a good point. The Nielsen overnight ratings from the Super Bowl show Columbus scored the 4th highest overnight rating (54.1) of any American city. Boston ranked first and Indianapolis rated 2nd best. Yet Columbus has no NFL team and the two closest squads, Browns and Bengals, enjoy limited (to be nice) success.
It makes you wonder… why? Are we just that obsessed with football (ie. Ohio State) in Columbus that we’ll watch any football, even without significant local interests? Must be.
So… does this mean we in Central Ohio could support our own NFL franchise? Or even host a Super Bowl? Two short answers on these… No.
Columbus already owns an NFL team. Ohio State. In fact, it’s better than an NFL team. The Buckeyes regularly win 10 or 11 of their 13 games each season and pack 105-thousand fans into the stadium. The OSU brand carries tradition and performance combined with the perceived integrity of a collegiate event. It seems to be a perfect mix for the Columbus population, considering it’s a city with many young professionals and the 15th largest population in America. We’re proud of our city and we should be—-not sure there’s anywhere else i’d rather live.
With 5 existing NFL teams within a 3 hour drive of Columbus, it seems highly unlikely the league would look at Columbus as a growth market. It’s a great place, but maybe not a perfect NFL fit.
And as for the Super Bowl, Columbus would need a new stadium, many… many more hotel rooms and, well, a sense of cutting edge creativity that would be attractive not just to American audiences, but the growing international interest in the NFL. For example, when people asked me this week where I was from I answered Columbus. Almost entirely, their response would go “Columbus… Ohio?” We’re still fighting that problem here.
Indy did a masterful job hosting the game, mainly because the downtown area is perfectly set to host this type of event. Between the bustling downtown, medley of hotel space and the new downtown stadium the city is perceived as growing and cool. And the weather, for February in Indiana, was picture perfect. It was a brilliant week. I hope the NFL considers bringing the game back to Indy ASAP.
Just a couple other notes from Super Bowl Sunday:
-Only a fraction of the total media credentialed for the game (more than 5400) actually had a seat inside the stadium. Fortunately I had one, in the top right corner of the stadium. The game is much quieter and subdued than your average OSU or even bowl game. So many of the seats are corporate purchases and the entry-level tickets cost $900, if you can even get access to one of those. It’s just not the hardcore football crowd which brings life to any stadium.
-So where does media not in the stadium follow the action? Easy… on tv. Just like you. But in Lucas Oil Stadium the overflow media was seated in a medley of meeting rooms in the underground portion of the stadium. Reporters are provided workspace, snacks and TV’s to follow the game until it’s time to get postgame interviews. You can still say you were at the Super Bowl… just deep in the bowels of the stadium.
-Celebrities spotted: Met Alec Baldwin in an elevator—even when says “Hello” in person it sounds like a recording. Also saw the guys from LMFAO who took part in the halftime show. Saw Katy Perry walking on the field—wasn’t hard to spot her because her hair was blue.