Lucas Oil Stadium: Opening Indianapolis To Change


Looking south from Monument Circle, the hollow skeleton of Lucas Oil Stadium is beginning to fill in. The tracks and plots have been laid out, the parking lots visible and unpaved make a donut around the steel and brick carcass of the structure. Cranes are towering above putting beams of the retractable roof in place, giving local Hoosiers a ghostly glimpse of their team’s new home.

Turn your gaze a little to the right – just north of the new stadium – and you’ll see the familiar white dome of the RCA Dome, completed in 1983, just before the Baltimore franchise moved to Indy. (Any Hoosier will tell you it’s the Hoosier Dome, not the RCA Dome, leading me to wonder if the stadium being built – officially Lucas Oil Stadium – will get its original moniker: Indiana Stadium, representing the firm pride of Hoosiers in their state personality.)

Lucas Oil Stadium comes by way of the massive Convention Center restructuring and expansion project. This $675 million stadium (the Colts franchise providing $100 million of the total cost) will not just be the home to the Colts. Competitions such as the Bands of America Grand National Championship and the Indiana Marching Band State Finals have lined up for their turn. Drum Corps International is moving their corporate headquarters to Indianapolis, thus holding their competitions there. Also, the stadium will host concerts, banquets, Monster Car shows, exhibitions, state high school football finals and cheerleading competitions. In addition to all of this, every five years the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Finals will be held there, as the NCAA Headquarters is a just couple blocks from the stadium’s site.

The retractable roof stadium will seat 63,000 fans (as opposed to the RCA Dome’s 60,000) and be, in every way, state-of-the-art. It will have a fieldturf playing surface and be opened in August 2008.

The new stadium was a major selling point for the 2011 Super Bowl bidding war between Indianapolis, Dallas and Phoenix held earlier this year. Indianapolis lost to Dallas by just 2 votes.

For those who live in Indianapolis, the city is ready for expansion, ready for new business and more entertainment possibilities, as the city already holds several other national and international events, including the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, the Indianapolis 500, the U.S. Grand Prix and the Brickyard 400.

The new stadium is part of a much larger downtown expansion, as is obvious as new hotels are going up in the area. Indianapolis is preparing itself for massive growth in the very near future and the stadium (and the success of the Colts) seem to be the juggernauts behind its kickoff.