The Greatest Spectacle in – Cricket?
For Indianapolis, a city known for its upcoming Indianapolis 500, often referred to as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” it may have seemed a bit out of context when Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard talked in 2013 about having cricket as a viable sport for Indy. But out of that talk grew a nearly $6 million project to create a complex that would hold the event on the city's far east side.
Out of that came the Indianapolis World Sports Park, a 40-acre former city park that turned into an international sports complex capable of holding local, regional, national and international cricket, rugby, lacrosse and hurling events.
So, the logical question might be—why cricket? At the time of the original announcement, Mayor Ballard said the city was confident developments like these will help Indianapolis attract businesses from India and other parts of the globe where these sports are popular.
“This is our commitment to international sports,” he said. “We want to send signals to the world that Indianapolis is a place that you need to be looking at. We adapt to everything, we receive everybody and we are an extremely inclusive city.”
It’s an option several cities are looking into—building sports facilities that might draw an employment base that might be attracted not just to the job, but to the recreation in that area. Hilliard, Ohio, is another area looking to expand cricket and other international sports facilities, to attract Ohio State graduates and a technical workforce.
Youth sports always seem to be top of mind when it comes to building new facilities and tapping into the sports tourism industry: International sports, drawing young, bright talent to live, work and play in a particular area, is another growth industry areas are tapping into, to help their communities thrive.