Mayor Greg Ballard revealed Tuesday during a trade mission to India that Indianapolis hopes to host the inaugural United States Cricketing Championship next summer or fall.
Already, Ballard has enlisted the Indiana Sports Corp. and Visit Indy, the city’s tourism arm, to help attract, promote and conduct the cricket event, according to Marc Lotter, a spokesman for the mayor. The event will be sanctioned by the United States of America Cricket Association.
Lotter told IBJ the effort to host the event is part of the initiative to transform a 40-acre city park in the 1300 block of South Post Road into an international sports complex capable of hosting local, regional, national and international cricket, rugby, lacrosse and hurling events.
One multi-use field already is complete at the Post Road Community Park and is being used by the city’s local cricket club, Lotter said. The park will be renamed Indianapolis World Sports Park.
The $6 million project began two years ago. Lotter said that once it is complete in summer or fall of 2014, the park will have five athletic fields and be capable of holding events attracting as many as 10,000 spectators.
Money for the project is coming from existing city parks department funds and Rebuild Indy funds. The latter came from revenue from the sale of the city’s water system to Citizens Energy Group.
“We’re talking about creating some of the most premier fields in the U.S., built to international standards, that can host these sports,” Lotter said. “We think this project helps cement the city’s reputation as a sports capital of the world.”
The project also includes walking and fitness trails, additional parking, bathrooms and concession facilities, as well as room for temporary bleachers.
Lotter and Ballard are confident developments like these will help Indianapolis attract businesses from India and other parts of the globe where these sports are popular.
...Several years ago, I regularly played in softball leagues. There were privately-owned parks scattered throughout Indianapolis. These parks charged players and fans about a $2 admission each and also charged a several hundred dollar fee for each team to play in the league. Almost all of these privately-owned softball parks in Indianapolis have gone under. Despite steep charges, the parks could not turn a profit. Further, as the younger generation became of age, they were less interested in being involved in organized, outdoor sports.
If cricket and the other international sports are so popular, why not let the private sector build the facility and earn the profit? Let the market decide if it is a good investment. This is yet another time that people in government naively believe they are better at predicting what will be a good investment than the private sector.