Hey now... Granted IND is not the center of the cultural universe (but that is changing).. but it does have a lot to offer. There are three races a year at IMS (all but 3 cart teams and all IRL teams are based here), the biggest drag car race of the season is held here, the NCAA is headquartered here with the final four here almost every 4 or 5 years, the largest childrens museum in the world, three profesional sports teams and two minor league teams, and river boats within reasonable driving distance. IND also has a very large convention business, there are two or three conventions every week and the only cities with larger convention centers are Chicago and Los Angeles. The cost of living here is extremely low compared with the rest of the country as well. It's 90mins by car from ORD, SDF, and CVG. CVG is actually a smaller city but DL seems to do fine there. The new midfield terminal at IND is expandable and even with the current terminal US has an entire spoke that they only use 3 or 4 gates of.
As for competition, LUV is about it, and even with that you can only fly to Texas, Arizona, Baltimore, or once a day to LAX. ATA is headquartered here but has no hub, their hub is MDW. The only ATA mainline flights out of here are to LAS and the occassional flight to Mexico and Florida, all their other jet flights are charters for the military or sports teams from here.. well they have their travel club too.
STL would make more sense than IND or PIT, however IND already has the mntc base that UA is closing this month and it is not exactly a small operation. With UA pulling out of here the city and state have gone on record saying they will do anything in the way of taxes and loans that they can to bring another carrier in.. and lets not forget that at one time IND was a "mini hub" for US and was the dominant carrier here until just last summer. Also with Chatauqua based here it would make a good move for regional connectors. There is also a mothballed res center right next door (still US owned and full of furniture and equipment today)and UA had a res center in their facility that closed last year.
I realize that alot of rumours, and I mean alot, on this board are bogus and wild speculation. However given the state of things, I would put this one in the "hmmm that is possible" category and not completely blow it off just yet.
Finally.... don't make assumptions about other cities or compare them to places like Utica (never been, but haven't had a reason to yet)... you wouldn't like someone dawgin on your hometown