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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — From pickpockets and prostitutes to dirty bombs and exploding manhole covers, authorities are bracing for whatever threat the first Super Bowl in downtown Indianapolis might bring.
Some — nuclear terrorism, for instance — are likely to remain just hypothetical. But others, like thieves and wayward manhole covers, are all too real.
Though Indianapolis has ample experience hosting large sporting events — the Indianapolis 500 attracts more than 200,000 fans each year, and the NCAA's men's Final Four basketball tournament has been held here six times since 1980— the city's first Super Bowl poses some unique challenges.
Unlike the Final Four, which is compressed into a weekend, the Super Bowl offers crowd, travel and other logistical challenges over 10 days leading up to the Feb. 5 game. And unlike the 500, where events are largely concentrated at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway about seven miles from Lucas Oil Stadium, the NFL's showcase event will consume 44 blocks — about a mile square — in the heart of the city, closing off streets and forcing an anticipated 150,000 or more NFL fans to jockey with downtown workers for space much of the week.
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