Poll: We Should Give It the Old College Try?

In the wake of Indianapolis announcing its intention to seek to host another Super Bowl, we recently asked what other major event you would like to see come to our state. The results:

  • NCAA football championship game: 43%. Unfortunately, local officials indicated that potential bid (a new agreement puts the title game at a neutral location as part of a four-team playoff beginning in 2015) will likely not occur as a result of the Super Bowl effort
  • Olympic Games: 26%. OK, most responses came in while the world was watching what was taking place in London and Olympic fever was high. Can Indiana be a lead player in hosting the Olympics? No. As great as we are at big events, we’re not big enough for this big event. A previous Chicago bid would have included some events taking place in Indiana. That’s likely the best we could hope for.
  • National political convention: 24%. Indianapolis has tried before and came close. Democrats were hinting at a future effort, but also indicated that would not be possible in conjunction with another Super Bowl try (extensive corporate support for both is extremely critical).
  • U.S. Open golf championship: 7%. Hey, we hosted the PGA in 1991, have the BMW Championship event in a few weeks and have welcomed some other national and international events in between. Why not the top U.S. tournament?

Next (check out the top right of this page), we want to know if Tampa and Charlotte (both nice areas in their own right) will have your interest in the next few weeks.

Business of Sports (Impact) at Work

Global workplace productivity is expected to suffer over the next month as the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament takes center stage. The U.S. impact won’t be as substantial. Despite the continued growth in youth soccer (my son wanted to take a personal day from camp to watch the South Africa-Mexico opener on Friday morning), the world’s most popular game has not attracted the same fanatical support here at home.

But the folks at Challenger, Gray & Christmas have put together a non-scientific ranking of the sporting events that likely do have the biggest effect on employees … and ultimately employers. No surprise to me at No. 1. I’m of the belief that a certain Thursday and Friday in March are really national holidays.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka, March Madness) – Widespread office tournament pools and the fact that about half of the first 32 games are played during work hours (and streamed live on CBS Sports March Madness on Demand) make this the granddaddy of productivity sappers. Proof of the event’s impact on productivity: the “Boss Button,” which instantly hides the webcast behind a fake spreadsheet, was hit 3.3 million times during the 2010 Tournament.
NFL Fantasy Football – Millions of fantasy football participants manage their teams from their office, whether it’s preparing for the fantasy draft or initiating a four-way trade.   

The Super Bowl – While the game is not played during traditional work hours, the impact on the workplace comes the following day, when many Super Bowl revelers find this particular Monday especially difficult to manage.  

World Cup Soccer – Some companies in Europe and South America may even shut down on the day of a big match.
College Football Bowl Season – Bowl games start in mid-December and many die-hard college football fans attempt to watch every game. Some of these games are played during the day, while others go late into the evening.  

Baseball Playoffs and World Series – Games are mostly played in the evening, but often stretch into the wee hours. Groggy fans, particularly in cities with playoff/World Series teams, may be less productive the day after these prolonged games.
NHL Playoffs/Stanley Cup Finals – Professional hockey playoffs last almost two months. For cities with teams playing, this can create considerable distractions. 
NBA Playoffs/Finals – Much like with baseball and hockey, productivity is mostly killed in cities with competing teams. The biggest threat comes from late night game-watching on work nights. 
The Olympics – While most people get their fill through prime-time coverage, faster Internet connections are making it possible to watch live streaming of events from one’s desk. 
Apple Product Announcements – While this technically is not a sporting event, these announcements feature almost as much pre-event hype and watercooler speculation about what will transpire, particularly among members of the IT staff. Most events, which occur in the middle of the workday, are covered via live blogging, so those who cannot wait for news reports after the fact are able to be among the first to learn about Apple’s latest creation or product update.

Could Chicago Olympics be Good as Gold for Northwest Indiana?

Inside Indiana Business asked Speros Batistatos, President/CEO of the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, about the impact an Olympiad in Chicago could have on "da region" and the state.

IIB reports:

Organizers with Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games will outline their plans today in northwest Indiana. South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Speros Batistatos says a formal study has not been commissioned, but he believes the global sporting event could pump "tens and tens of millions of dollars" into the region’s economy. He also says the Olympics would be the largest single event ever for northwest Indiana’s hospitality industry.

Listen to the audio clip here for more.

Olympian Bob Kennedy Offers Wellness Tips to Chamber Staff

Olympian runner, Indiana University grad and Indianapolis business owner Bob Kennedy recently visited the Indiana Chamber as part of the Chamber’s ongoing wellness program speaker series. 

Kennedy believes the best way to include exercise in one’s life and to maintain an exercise program is to be very specific with goals and to always block time in your schedule for exercise. Kennedy is still the American record holder in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter distance events. He no longer runs the trails of Eagle Creek Park on Indianapolis’ northwest side to prepare for races, but he does maintain a very busy life. 

Now, he balances his life between his family and his business, The Running Company. After some time away from the sport in recent years, when asked what drove him back to running a few miles a day, he simply replied, “my kids.”

Phelps Demonstrates True Revenue Power of Sports

NEWS ALERT: Apparently, Michael Phelps is a big deal.

While his accomplishments in the pool have rendered him an archetype in his sport with legendary status, it’s the personal revenue machine he’s generated that might be equally appealing to capitalists everywhere. This article on ESPN.com is quite telling, and explains how Phelps could end up taking in over $100 million from the global business community.

Eight gold medals in one Olympiad are cool, I guess. I’ll only take mild offense that similar financial accolades were never tossed my way when my Lil’ Steelers bested the previously undefeated Lions in the 1986 Boone County Pee Wee Youth Football Championship. Pretty impressive milestone, but whatever.

Beijing Olympics Serve as Educational Tool

Catching bits and pieces of Olympic television coverage (and who couldn’t watch at least a little on any of the many "family" of NBC networks) over the weekend prompts the following:

  • I consider myself a fairly intelligent 45-year-old who pays attention to what goes on around him. But who knew there really were 205 countries eligible to participate in these Olympic Games. Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, both different from Papua New Guinea? Mauritania and Mauritius? Where are Comoros and Turkmanistan? Maybe our children going back to school in this and coming weeks could gain a world history lesson.
  • The U.S. is certainly guilty in other areas, but a $300 million price tag for the opening ceremonies? Think of the other ways some of that money could have been spent.
  • There is a rule in place that gymnastics (maybe all) competitors have to be at least 16 years old. Most of the Chinese female gymnasts, however, appear to have been babies during the 1996 Atlanta Games rather than the 1992 event in Barcelona.
  • That said, the Games are capitivating. It’s not just national pride, but watching the underdogs, from wherever, competing against the big countries is what it’s all about.
  • Michael Phelps might erase former IU Hoosier Mark Spitz from the record book, but 41-year-old Dara Torres swimming — and successfully — against women half her age is truly amazing.
  • This is supposed to be about business. So, we’ll end with no matter what you think about China and its politics, rest assured that the country will continue to grow in prominence and in its place in the international business world.

Also, read the China Business Review’s take on the overall impact the Olympics will have on Beijing and the nation.