The Indianapolis Colts were one of the early adopters in the stadium extortion game, moving from Baltimore in the dead of night in 1984 in exchange for a sweetheart deal at the then-new Hoosier Dome, and then going back to the well just 24 years later to get Lucas Oil Stadium built with the most expensive public NFL stadium subsidies up to that time. So surely there’s no way they’d become the first sports franchise to get three new stadiums in less than a half-century, right?
The current contract between the Colts and the city and the Capital Improvement Board, which operates Lucas Oil Stadium, runs from 2008 through the 2037 season. But if the Colts are not among the top five NFL teams in gross operating revenues in 2030, the team can terminate the deal…
Asked whether the Colts would need a new stadium to remain in Indianapolis past the current contract, [Colts COO Pete] Ward said the team hopes not but “it’s impossible to speculate that far ahead in today’s rapidly changing world.”
Well, that’s reassuring!
The team owners couldn’t actually break the lease and move until 2034, but you know that that wouldn’t stop them from trying to get a new stadium built earlier — hell, there’s already been talk of the Tampa Bay Rays moving if they don’t get a new stadium, and their lease doesn’t let them leave until 2027. So I wouldn’t count out the chances of the Colts at least shooting for a three-peat before the 50th anniversary of Moving Van Night.
The whole Indianapolis Star article that the above quotes are from is worth reading, as there are some other interesting nuggets as well, including Indianapolis deputy mayor for development Jeff Bennett remarking of the lack of development springing up around the ten-year-old football stadium that’s open for ten whole days a year: “I look out my window at work every day and see the stadium and the neighborhood around it. It’s just a matter of time now. The interest is there. It’s not a question of ‘if’ anymore, it’s ‘when.'” Hopefully before 2034!