Indianapolis’ success hosting big events has been demonstrated again and again.

The city wowed the sports world by putting together one of the best-received Super Bowl weeks in recent years. It has handled thousands of fans for Big Ten championships in football and basketball.

And for the seventh time, it will be the epicenter of the college basketball universe when it hosts the Final Four from Friday to Monday.

“From a logistical standpoint, we have such a complete downtown,” said John Dedman, spokesman for the Indiana Sports Corp. “The hotels, restaurants and venues are all a couple of blocks from where the games are going on. You feel the energy from the event, and I think that’s a great advantage for us.”

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While the games are the centerpiece of the weekend, city and NCAA organizers have created a near-constant slate of destinations and activities for basketball fans and entertainment junkies alike.

From free concerts by Rihanna and Zac Brown Band to autograph sessions with Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner, college all-star games and free youth basketball clinics, the point is to make sure people of all interests and tastes have something to do to bring them downtown.

“For us, it’s always been more than a game. It’s never just about rolling out the basketballs, playing a couple of games and everyone leaving when it’s done,” Dedman said.

The activities start in the morning Friday and last nearly continuously until the final buzzer has sounded during Monday’s National Championship game. Nearly everything is free, with the exception of the Final Four Fan Fest, with games, autographs sessions and demonstrations.

The Daily Journal has compiled everything you need to know heading into the weekend. Pick a day to go downtown to do it all, and enjoy Indy’s status as a big-game hub.

“A lot of the fan events are created for the local community to enjoy,” he said. “Pick a day, come down and try to do it all.”

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.