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Monday, July 15, 2024

The U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Is Set. The Big Winner? NFL Stadiums

  • Swimming trials at the Colts’ stadium in Indianapolis attracted nearly 300,000 fans.
  • SoFi Stadium, home for two NFL teams, will host swimming events for the 2028 Games.
The Indianapolis Star

One of the seemingly most unlikely marriages in sports may now be a staple for fans in the U.S. moving forward: swimming in NFL stadiums.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic swimming team trials drew a record attendance of 285,000 fans across 17 sessions at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The nine-day event utilized the home of the NFL’s Colts in an unprecedented move. The previous attendance mark for the swimming trials was just under 200,000 at an arena in Omaha.

Following the success in Indianapolis, organizers of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics announced that swimming events for those Summer Games would take place at SoFi Stadium—the $5 billion venue that is home to the NFL’s Rams and Chargers. 

Lucas Oil Stadium’s swimming capacity was 30,000, but the largest crowd during the trials was 22,209, on Wednesday evening last week. SoFi Stadium will be able to fit 38,000 fans—the most ever for Olympic swimming—as athletes from all around the world battle in the water for gold medals.

NFL Swimming Tour?

USA Swimming selected Indianapolis to host this summer’s swimming trials as part of a bidding process that included several other cities. There will be another bid cycle for future Olympic trials, including 2028.

Patrick Talty, the president of local organizing body Indiana Sports Corp, previously told Front Office Sports that Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium will be interested in trying to host again. Given the hype around the developing trend, it won’t be surprising to see other cities with covered NFL stadiums raise their hand, too.

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