Hospitality, Compact Downtown Make Indy A Super Bowl City, Mayor Says

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Lots of folks are obviously very excited in Indianapolis as Sunday's Super Bowl at the city's Lucas Oil Stadium approaches.

Just check the front of the Indianapolis Star's website from earlier this hour. The newspaper was leading with this news: "Sources: Madonna Holds 5-Hour Rehearsal For Super Bowl Show." (She's the halftime entertainment.)

But there is, as Tell Me More host Michel Martin politely suggested earlier today during a conversation with Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard, a question that many around the nation are likely asking this week: why is Indy — not known for being a party city like others who have hosted Super Bowls? (We're looking at you, New Orleans and Miami.)

Ballard's answer: His town has "very hospitable people" and a "compact downtown" that means fans can easily walk from their hotels to the various Super Bowl-related venues, including the stadium. And, the city has turned three blocks of one downtown street into a "Super Bowl village."

As for whether the cost of hosting the game will be more than offset by the money that comes in thanks to visitors and other revenue sources, Ballard "it's going to be a fair chunk of change." But even more important, he suggested, will be "the extremely positive" exposure he thinks Indianapolis is getting.

As for who he favors in the contest between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, the mayor said he's got to side with the Giants because of their quarterback — Eli Manning, the younger brother of Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning (who may, of course, not be with the Colts much longer). Indianapolis is a Manning town, the mayor says.

Much more from Michel's conversation with the mayor is on today's Tell Me More. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

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