tourism & city branding
interview with patrick talty, president, indiana sports corporation
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What is Indiana Sports Corp and its mission?
Indiana Sports Corp’s mission is to advance and inspire the community through sports. Our focus is to make Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana, thrive through the sporting events we host.
Indiana has recently taken intentional strategic steps to become a hub for sports technology companies. How do you plan to achieve this goal?
The impact of COVID-19, in many ways, has changed the way we view the sports and sporting events industry for many years to come. When the traditional sports experience was not possible, it forced our industry to be innovative about how we utilise tech to create positive experiences, engage fans, and keep all those involved safe.
When Indiana Sports Corp, among other community partners, launched the Techstars Sports Accelerator Powered by Indy in 2019, it demonstrated long before the pandemic that Indiana has a unique set of sports and technology assets to attract top performing international venture startups to the state.
In a response to the growing need for technology in sports and the success of the Techstars accelerator, SportsTech HQ was formed in an effort to capitalise on this successful attraction of venture startups and to further build Indiana’s sportstech business ecosystem
Indy basketball events remained carbon neutral in 2021. Can you tell us a bit more about how you offset the CO2 emissions?
Indiana Sports Corp, in partnership with AES Indiana, Heritage Interactive Services, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability worked collaboratively to make the venue operations of all practices and games during basketball events in Indianapolis taking place in March and April of 2021 carbon neutral.
Heritage Interactive Services utilised ClimeCo to contribute offsets to mitigate the carbon footprint offset during this time while AES Indiana purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) and applied them toward electricity usage at all of the competition and practice venues. The investments made in the purchase of carbon offsets and renewable energy credits ensured that the events were carbon neutral from when the teams arrived in Indiana to after the final contest.
As part of its mission, Indiana Sports Corp creates opportunities for youth through sport. A good example is: “The Exchange”. How does this programme support young Indies?
The Inspiring Sports Exchange is an online tool that connects youth-serving organisations with Indiana companies and individuals that offer sports equipment, volunteer hours, facilities, and other donatable resources. The platform is free to use and has more than 1,600 accounts that directly links organisations to opportunities they may not otherwise have. The Exchange is Indiana Sports Corp’s premier resource in getting its youth programs out to organisations and creating positive impact in the lives of Indiana youth.
Do you have any particular thoughts to share with our community of over 500 sports cities around the world on the power of sport for cities?
Without sports, Indianapolis and the state of Indiana would not be where it is today. Through our city’s founding ‘Sports Strategy’ assembled in the late 1970’s, Indianapolis put a stake in the ground that it was going to drive its community forward through sporting events and conventions. With this strategic investment and focus, Indianapolis has now hosted more than 500 national and international sporting events.
Indianapolis does not sit oceanside or have picturesque mountain ranges surrounding its skyscrapers, and we’ve never needed those to be successful in this industry. Our focus has always been to be an elite partner to rights-holders while utilising our entire community to create positive experiences through the events we host. We are a community-facing organisation that utilises sports as a means to create impact.
With that said, it’s vital that we all use the power of sports – and the incredible platforms it gives us – to push our communities forward. Although the phrase ‘it’s just a game’ is often used to describe sports and sporting events, we all know that it’s so much more than that. Sports has the power to uplift communities, give back to youth, provide job opportunities, make surrounding businesses thrive – and that’s barely scratching the surface. We are all fortunate to work in this industry and should never lose sight in how far our influence goes. It’s certainly not always easy, and has been far from that the past few years, but our communities benefit from our efforts, no matter how small or large.
The world needs sports, and every sports organisation is equipped in some way or another to be a driver in this industry and our communities.