INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The NFL combine starts Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The event serves as a week-long job interview for top college football players eligible for the upcoming draft.
Dozens of coaches, hundreds of athletes, and millions of dollars will arrive in Indianapolis – once again putting the city in the national spotlight.
Tourism officials say this is an incredibly important event for the city, which has hosted the combine since 1987. They say it brings 4,000 people to local shops, restaurants, and hotels, and generates $6.5 million.
“I like to think we’re kind of a turn key operation on a lot of these sports events,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “They like the connectivity of the downtown. They can go from the hotel to the stadium without even going outside. They can go to restaurants pretty much without going outside. I think they like all of that. We treat them right. It’s fun and they’re in a sports city.”
This year, the event comes just weeks before Indianapolis submits a bid to host another Super Bowl. Minneapolis and New Orleans are also in the running for the big game in 2018.
Asked if the combine helps the chances for Indianapolis, Ballard said it certainly doesn’t hurt.
“The staff knows we could really nail a Super Bowl. I’m very hopeful that we can do this thing again because it really was a lot of fun. I think it put the city in a great light so hopefully we can do that,” he said. “The more the NFL is comfortable here the better it is for our city.”
Below is a list of NFL Combine invitees from Indiana colleges:
Ricardo Allen–Purdue DB–DB02
Bennett Jackson–Notre Dame–DB–DB30
T.J. Jones–Notre Dame–WR–WO30
Zack Martin–Notre Dame–OL–OL29
Troy Niklas*–Notre Dame–TE–TE18
Louis Nix III–Notre Dame–DL–DL35
Prince Shembo–Notre Dame–LB–LB26
Stephon Tuitt*–Notre Dame–DL–DL50
Chris Watt–Notre Dame–OL–OL49
Jonathan Newsome–Ball State–DL–DL34
Willie Snead*–Ball State–WR–WO43
Keith Wenning–Ball State–QB–QB19
For a complete list click here.