Indiana house votes to help fund stadium for minor-league soccer team that hasn’t played a game yet, because Indiana

Speaking of crazy-ass subsidy demands, what’s up with that push for stadium subsidies by the soccer team that claims it’s going to join MLS even though it hasn’t even started minor-league play yet, the one whose owner is projecting $5 million a year in ticket taxes in a sport whose teams average about $8 million a year in ticket sales, your very own Indy Eleven? This is Indiana, people, so of course it’s going gangbusters:

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 18-2 Thursday afternoon in favor of a bill that would facilitate a new downtown soccer stadium for Indy Eleven.

The vote came without discussion, but Chairman Tim Brown amended it in a way that he said will give the Senate a chance to weigh in on the proposal.

The bad news for Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir, such that it is, is that the bill only raises the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board’s debt limit by $2 million, which 1) doesn’t actually provide Ozdemir with any money just yet, though the CIB could presumably hand it over without asking the legislature and then turn around and say, “Sorry, out of cash, need more,” like it has in the past, and 2) isn’t enough to pay for the $87 million stadium that Ozdemir says he wants. (He’s asking for $5 million a year from the state.) So, a potential IOU for $2 million passing almost unanimously with no disucssion? That’s a nice haul for a team whose only claim to fame so far is that 7,000 people have put down $25 deposits for season tickets. Clearly I should get out of this whole web journalism business and start up a minor-league soccer franchise … though on second thought, that’s more of a Shelbyville idea.


10 comments on “Indiana house votes to help fund stadium for minor-league soccer team that hasn’t played a game yet, because Indiana

  1. Aside from letting the statement of ‘we will get $5 million in taxes on ticket sales of $8 million’ fly by without challenge, have any of the Indiana legislators wanted to see some sort of actual evidence that 7,000 people have put down deposits before letting the CIB hand Ersal 2 million in actual cash?

  2. To be fair, a great many of those people have actually completed the purchase of season tickets, which have been on sale for a couple of months now. Don’t know how many, but it’s unfair to characterize it as 7,000 who have done nothing more than put down $25 each.

    (That said, yes, the math is strange.)

  3. Right, meant that 7,000 people have at least put down deposits, not that none have actually bought yet.

  4. IndyRob,

    I hate to defend this boondoggle, but Indy Eleven stopped accepting $25 checks at one point so that 7,000 part is legit.

  5. If MLS just added 200 franchises (as it seems many prospective owners believe they will…), could Quantitative Easing be ended?

    When does MLSeventhorizon occur?

    7,000 * $25 = $175,000

    Did anyone check to see that the prospective owner and subsidy recipient didn’t just put $150k of his own money up to “prove” he deserves millions in corporate welfare?

  6. Wow. Ticket deposits equate to a 95% conversion rate. Didn’t think Indiana would do it however they do it for every other sport. At least they’re not hypocrites like the guy in Florida. Surprised more wall street sharks are not pulling this scam.

  7. copied from Monday’s thread:

    www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/02/20/mls-commissioner-don-garber-addresses-leagues-purchase-chivas-usa

    Well, I guess the unanswered question of why Stan Kroenke would buy land “for an MLS club” in LA when he already owns one elsewhere might just have been addressed…

  8. Copied from comment to your comment on that thread:

    This article has Garber insisting that Kroenke won’t be allowed to buy an L.A. team when he already owns another one. Also refers to him as “Stank Kroenke,” which is totally going to be his nickname here from now on:

    http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/20/mls-commissioner-confirms-kroenke-wont-buy-chivas-usa-gives-details-on-future-plan/

  9. I’m sure he won’t be allowed to own two clubs… but I didn’t see Garber ruling out his sale of one and purchase of another.

    It could be that his talk about purchasing land for an MLS team is a misdirection… or any one of a dozen other possibilities (probably not including his wife wanting the land for a Wal-mart, given that they sold it to him…)

    It seems logical that if he does move the Rams back to LA, he’d rather have an LA MLS team than a Colorado one. Then again, he has other sporting interests that likely aren’t also going to move to LA…

    I like the new nickname though…

  10. First, the sports owners lie about numbers. They claim they are losing money when it helps and they claim big interest when it helps. Second, having 7000 people actually buy season ticket packages at $135 apiece raises about $900,000 which is no where close to the $2 million in CIB funds being asked for this year or the $87 million in cost to buy a stadium. Thirdly, Indy eleven stopped accepting $25 deposits when they established a jan 31 deadline for actually buying season tickets. No one actually attempts to check these numbers.

    My guess is that the number of season ticket holders is somewhere less than 2000, but maybe the Indianapolis market is more gullible than that.

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