Sunday, December 4, 2011

Championship Weekend in Indianapolis

The first Big Ten Football Championship set a high bar that will be tough to reach. However the folks in Indianapolis are eager to top this performance. The game on the field matched the level of hospitality by the locals. It was an outstanding weekend for fans of football and those of the Big Ten as their game took center stage.

In the massive Indiana Convention Center the conference held Fan Fest in association with the game at nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. On display was a over sized replica of the trophy Michigan State and Wisconsin were fighting for. Many took the opportunity to get their picture with it as it rotated behind ropes.

It was a corporate sponsor heaven. Dr. Pepper had a major presence as it does at many of the conference championship games. Samples were being distributed by an army of interns.

And on the exhibition field Dr. Pepper set up large cans for fans to throw football through. The night before couches were brought in for the Award Gala. Student-athletes from all conference schools who won awards were paired with the individuals those awards were named after. Clark and Butkus were among the notable athletes as the different player of the year awards were handed out.
 Sports Illustrated also played major role in the fan interaction area. Fans were allowed to test out the football knowledge and compete against fans from other teams to see who knew more. The Heisman display has travelled across the country in 2011.
 Bowl reps were frequently found promoting their games and local area. Representatives of the Insight, Fiesta, Orange and Rose were those making themselves available during their time in Indianapolis. But then there were those who walked around wearing orange jackets with ironed on patches as seen above from Ray Gilmore of Iowa City.
Wisconsin Red and Michigan State Green were the dominant colors trolling through the streets this Christmas season. The Indiana Convention Center also hosted pre-game alumni and fan parties for both the Spartans and the Badgers.
 And Indianapolis rolled out the red carpets for the VIPs. A pregame party for those representing the different conference schools was found above the Fan Fest entrance with outstanding food, dessert and drinks. Another opportunity for bowl reps to promote their destinations and school administrators to explain why their school is the only option to those same bowl reps.
The home to the Big Ten Championship through 2015 is Lucas Oil Stadium. It will also be the home to NFL's Super Bowl and Combine in 2012.
 The Big Ten Network is also owned by Fox Corporation. The Big Ten Football Championship was found on Fox as part of the agreement. Gus Johnson and Charles Davis had the call, but former Minnesota football coach, Tim Brewster was on the sideline. In one of Brewster's final game as head coach of the Gophers, he and Wisconsin Head Coach, Bret Bielema had a verbal disagreement at mid-field. But at the Championship game the two spent time with Brewster remaining on the Michigan State sidelines, reporting from there.
A thing of the past is for the Big Ten Championship to be secured on a team's home field. Now trophies will be presented at Indianapolis at the conclusion of the game. Here Wisconsin accepts their trophy and invitation to the Rose Bowl


CJLUKE said...

I seriously thought the guy in the orange bowl jacket was Jay Ried's uncle at first.....

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