Indiana senate offers to pay $112m toward MLS stadium, team owner won’t commit to putting in $30m

The Indiana state senate on Tuesday night passed its bill to provide Indy Eleven with $112 million worth of soccer stadium subsidies ($8 million a year for 25 years, if you’re counting at home — here’s a present value calculator to get you the rest of the way there), plus an unspecified amount of money for even more renovations to the Indiana Pacers‘ arena and Indianapolis Colts‘ stadium. So of course, the Indianapolis Star headlines are all about how the team owners will have to put in money, too! Won’t anyone think of the team owners?

Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir called it a “good bill” — you’d hope he would, since it gives him a series of $8 million checks — but he still found things to whine about, namely that he wouldn’t get the cash until he landed an MLS franchise (the Eleven are currently in the USL) and that he would have to put in any money himself:

Ozdemir sees a scenario in which his team has its first game in a new stadium in three years. But he thinks the stipulations in the current bill — a down payment on the stadium and a Major League Soccer franchise ahead of time — could delay any debut…

In Wednesday’s interview, Ozdemir declined to say whether the team was willing or could afford to pay 20 percent of the construction cost, which would be about $30 million.

The bill still needs to pass the state house, but last time soccer stadium subsidies were proposed back in 2015, it was the house that approved it and the senate that rejected it, if that means anything. Also, last time Ozdemir was only asking for $82 million in stadium funding, and $112 million is a lot more than $82 million, but either stadiums have gotten a lot more expensive in the last four years or Ozdemir is seeing an opening for state funding and getting greedy — you make the call.

Also also, remember that people in Indiana hate this whole sports subsidy idea, not that anyone is asking them.


8 comments on “Indiana senate offers to pay $112m toward MLS stadium, team owner won’t commit to putting in $30m

  1. …people in Indiana hate this whole sports subsidy idea…

    But never enough to toss the legislators who engage in it. So no, they don’t really hate it. Maybe they dislike it a little, or are apathetic about it.

  2. Does Ozdemir have $150 million for the MLS expansion fee, or can he get the state to pay for that too?

  3. I can understand Ozdemir’s pain here… My own personal inability to fund a Ferrari F40 purchase has delayed my ownership (and initial drive) of one for about 30 years now.

    I find it appalling when other people won’t give money to me so I can enjoy ownership of things I can’t otherwise afford. Clearly Ozdemir feels the same.

    I mean, are taxpayers just stupid? Don’t they understand the tremendous economic benefits the small town I live in would experience if there was a Ferrari F40 owner living here? I would even agree to drive it around once a week and let other people look at and admire it. Newspapers (if we still had any) would send reporters and photographers (ditto) to cover the incredible story of my Ferrari F40 and it’s low speed lapping of the downtown district.

    Man, poor people just don’t understand modern economics and how they would all benefit from me owning an F40 (whether they can afford to pay for a ride in the passenger seat or not).

  4. And of course, the supporters group is convinced that a TIF will solve everything and mean that only people who set foot in that area will ever pay for it…which, no.