It is Indianapolis’s now.
Indianapolis is hosting the first major event of the National Football League’s 2020 season, the annual scouting combine. But will Indianapolis retain the yearly “the probable draftees looking great in t-shirts and shorts show” beyond 2021? That is an open question. The National Football League has been staging the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis since 1987. The NFL and Indianapolis officials signed a five-year agreement in 2016 to stay in the city, but just three of those years, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were guaranteed. The league had an option to put the combine elsewhere but decided to stick around Indianapolis until 2021. The event seems to bring money into Indianapolis although city officials have never publicly discussed the actual details of the NFL agreement and what Indianapolis is paying the National Football League. Indianapolis is also touting “well the event gives us free publicity and people might come to Indianapolis because of that card”. It should be noted that for decades the Indianapolis 500 was a premiere event that brought people to Indianapolis and gave the city enormous exposure globally. Today the Indy 500 is just another car race although people do flock out to Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend.
The NFL liked Indianapolis for a number of reasons including a cluster of hotels near the stadium where the combine takes places. The NFL’s travel party includes 32 teams, league officials and, of course, the more than 300 players who audition for scouts. But Indianapolis is not a glamour city like Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The NFL could easily shift the talent show. Both areas are opening new stadiums which would be available although an LA based combine would be in Inglewood and hotel rooms would not be nearby. Money will play into the equation, whomever gives the NFL the best deal will get the talent competition.