This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.
April 05, 2009
Legislators weigh Indy stadium bailout
WRTV News reports, somewhat dramatically, that Lucas Oil Stadium could close if a state bailout deal is not reached for the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board. The CIB, which operates the Indianapolis Colts' one-season-old stadium along with Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the Indiana Pacers, is facing a $47.4 million operating deficit, after failing to budget properly for $26 million in annual operating costs for Lucas Oil Stadium.
The consequences of financial failure for the CIB remain unclear. CIB President Bob Grand sounded pessimistic, if vague, saying, "If you want me to give you worst-cases, I mean the worst-case scenario is we could be out of money and the facilities would be, arguably, closed."
The bailout plan includes annual $5 million payments from both the Colts and Pacers, which neither team has agreed to as yet (UPDATE: Since the Pacers would be absolved of about $15 million a year in operating costs, this would actually save the team $10 million a year. -ND), as well as tax increases on alcohol, restaurant meals, hotel stays, and sports tickets.
Politicians are not yet on board with the plan, either. NWI reports that Thomas McDermott Jr., Mayor of Hammond in northwest Indiana, is incensed that a similar finance plan for flood protection levees in his district was blocked in December. "It seems to me that it's more important to build football stadiums than it is flood walls," he said on Thursday.
Seriously, the hell with the CIB. Enough with bailing out these failing companies. Since when did we decide to bail out incompetence? I think it would be hilarious if the stadiums closed. Flood walls are more important.
What WRTV failed to report was the fact that the CIB has been running in the red for quite a few years prior to the building of the Lucas Oil Stadium.
WRTV also failed to report that the CIB increased salaries over 9 million from the prior budget.
WRTV likewise didn't report the fact that the current chairman of the CIB, Bob Grand, is a partner with the law firm that represents the Pacers.
The CIB also lost 6+ million in suite revenues from the prior year because the Colts now receive all suite revenue.
And by the way the deficit as originally reported was about twenty million, which was attributed to the increased maintenance cost of Lucas, but the new deficit is north of 47 million.
As part of their last tax proposal there was a proposal for the Pacers and Colts to pay 5 million apiece to reduce the CIB deficit; surprisingly neither team has agreed to that commitment.
The CIB has painted themselves in a corner and as usual they expect the taxpayers to dig a little deeper to keep our sport's owners happy.
From the outside, (I live in North Dakota) floodwalls are more important. Consider the hell we have had in the last month in our state with some of it flooding related to the point that the Missouri River was hit with two ice jams within 10 miles of each other. Plus, we also had the normal flooding in the eastern part of the state with the Red River with it cresting at 41 feet in Fargo.
Based on that info, I would let Hammond have their floodwalls while the Pacers and Colts can bite me. Translation, the CIB is going to have to buy a bank in order to get a bailout. Quite frankly I would be happy to see the Hawaii Colts play football.