For thirty-one years the Circle City Classic has been a Crown Jewel event of Indianapolis and Indiana’s African-American community. For several years during the 1990’s, the Classic literally sold out the old RCA Dome. Up through 2008, the Classic had attendance no lower than the forty thousand range. During the worst of the recession, Circle City Classic attendance never fell below 35,000. But, now the event has reached a crisis point. A point where its future could be in peril! Two years ago, an estimated 20,000 attended the game. Last year, 22,357 attended. This year, the bottom fell out as only 15,328 attended the October 4th game according to the official attendance shown in the official game statistics. But, in an e-mail to Afternoons with Amos Host Amos Brown, Indiana Black Expo President/CEO Tanya Bell, which runs the Classic, says 26,480 Classic tickets were “distributed”; including 22,000 tickets that were sold.
During the Afternoons with Amos annual community evaluation of the Circle City Classic, Amos Brown challenged the Indiana Black Expo Board of Directors, the leadership which runs the Classic and Expo’s Summer that the time had come for them to take strong action to reverse the Classic’s declining attendance. As the photos show, taken at half time of the Classic this year, huge amounts of empty seats can be seen. Halftime traditionally is when everyone at the Classic comes out to enjoy the Battle of the Bands. On a special two hour Afternoons with Amos, listeners flooded the program with their concerns and constructive criticisms and suggestions for improving the Classic. Suggestions ranged from pricing, more attractions and celebrities, improved parking options, pricing to take into account the poor economy for some Black families, greater emphasis in pricing to allow families to attend.
Listeners also raised the question whether Black College Football Classics are relevant to the younger generations in the Black community. other listeners suggested the Classic not just be a Black thing; but reach out to the Hispanic and white communities. Bu virtually all the callers agreed that 15,328 attending an event that regularly drew 40-50-60 thousand to Indianapolis’ downtown was unacceptable. Listeners also agreed it was time that Black Expo’s Board address the situation and be open and above board and communicate with the African-American community. Click the Media Player to hear the Full Discussion on What do To About the Crisis Facing Circle City Classic. ©2014/WTLC Radio. Part 1 Runs 55 Minutes. Part 2 Runs 39 Minutes.