INDIANAPOLIS -- The 1982 National Sports Festival, which officially opened Friday night, has already outdrawn last year's Festival in Syracuse, N.Y., officials said Monday.
Ticket sales through Sunday totaled $738,864, said Jack Berger, promotion director for the Indianapolis Festival staff. The gate for the entire eight-day run of the Festival in 1981 was about $450,000, he said.
Mike Moran, media coordinator for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said well-planned promotion by the city of Indianapolis is the major reason for the increased interest in the Festival.
'It's the job they've done in Indianapolis,' Moran said. 'It's the marketing they've done for the last 18 months. They have not attempted to package it with any other event.'
In Syracuse, officials promoted the Festival as part of a package with the Empire State Games and sometimes with the State Fair, he said.
'There was considerable confusion in the region and in the city about what was what and exactly what the National Sports Festival was,' Moran said.
However, all of that was not the fault of Syracuse organizers, he said. One problem, he said, was there was no Festival in 1980 because the Olympics were held that year.
'No one knew what they were getting into,' Berger said.
Indianapolis benefited in an unusual way from the baseball strike last summer. While that should have proven a boon to the 1981 Festival in Syracuse, since it was one of the only sporting events in America, the attention was more helpful to this year's NSF. Newspapers had more space on their sports pages to devote to the Festival and awareness of the event was increased.
From the beginning, Moran said, Indianapolis had a plan to promote the event.
Sellout crowds at track and field events haven't been too surprising, Berger said. The two-day attendance at the new Indiana University Stadium was 26,000.
But, Berger said, relatively large crowds at events like diving, cycling, handball and synchronized swimming have been pleasant surprises.
A sellout crowd of about 6,150 at the men's 10-meter platform competition in the newly constructed Natatorium Sunday is believed to be the largest crowd ever for a diving event in the United States, according to Todd Smith, executive director of the U.S. Diving Association, headquartered in Indianapolis.
About 5,000 spectators watched sprint cycling in the new Velodrome - also a large crowd for that event.