Mary Milz/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - It may still be March Madness, but some are already thinking football. The NFL announced its opening weekend schedule Monday, with the Colts getting a prime time spot. The Colts will kick off the new season in their new stadium against an old rival, all on national television.
Call it a rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl. The Colts will open Lucas Oil Stadium with a prime time game against the Chicago Bears September 7th. It has Pacers fans now thinking football.
"I think it's a good match, a very good match," said Scott Anderson, fan. "Chicago didn't have too good of a team last year, but of course the year before that they were great, so should be a good match-up."
NBC will televise the game nationally, giving millions their first glimpse of Lucas Oil Stadium. Tourism officials call the publicity priceless.
"We will drive home the point to those broadcasting the game and those who want to talk about it, that it's not just a football stadium, that it was built with multi-functionality in mind and so we hope a lot of people look at this facility and go, 'Wow!'" said Bill Benner, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
Also excited about the Colts home opener are businesses located a stone's throw from the new stadium.
"I'm beyond ecstatic for the new stadium," said Lisa Hartsock, a bartender at Spencers. She has watched it go up brick by brick. "I can't wait to go and see the difference like once they get it done and the seating."
The stadium authority's David Frick says the stadium will be finished on time, but adds heavy demolition of the dome won't start until mid-summer, just to be sure. He says the authority will mark the stadium's opening with several events, including an open house for the public.
"I'm excited. It's a beautiful new facility and they deserve it," said Doug Martz, Colts season ticket holder.
The Colts too are planning celebrations before the home opener and the first pre-season game. There are two pre-season games scheduled. A spokesperson for the Colts says they should have dates in place by late April.
You'll also be able to watch the season opener on Channel 13.