For a long time, Columbus and Indianapolis were viewed as very similar. Both were white-collar Midwestern cities that managed to avoid the rust belt fate of fellow Midwestern cities that were built around the steel, rubber, glass, and auto industries. Both had a reputation for being white bread, straight down the middle, boring towns.
If anything, Indianapolis was viewed as even more dull and predictable than Columbus. That’s why some people referred to it as “Nap Town” or “Indian-no-place.”
No longer! Things started to change when Indianapolis got an NFL team to go with its NBA franchise. Then the city started to host NCAA Tournament regionals, then the Final Four, and now, this year, the crown jewel — the Super Bowl. And, by all accounts, Indianapolis did a fabulous job in hosting the Super Bowl and wowing all of the visiting journalists and high rollers. Local people — including one of my friends — were recruited to serve as hosts, ready to direct visitors to events and help them make reservations and plans. The weather was great. The downtown zip line had the requisite coolness factor. As a result, Indianapolis got great, and richly deserved, PR.
So now, in Columbus, people are talking about what we need to do to keep up with our neighboring city to the west — the one that has left us in the dust as a destination for sports events. Let’s face it — we’ve got a bad case of Indy Envy.