Field of Schemes
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June 16, 2010

Pacers may not get their lease subsidy before self-imposed "deadline"

It looks like talks over the Indiana Pacers' demand for an even sweeter sweetheart lease will go down to the wire — or a wire, anyway. The team's owners set June 30 as a deadline for resolving the dispute, but Ann Lathrop, president of the state Capital Improvement Board (who was, incidentally, Indianapolis city controller at the time the original lease was signed) says there's no guarantee a deal will be reached by then.

The big sticking point appears to be not the $15 million in annual operating-cost subsidies the Pacers want, which the CIB, despite its own budget woes, seems willing to cough up, at least in part. Rather, according to the Indianapolis Star, "the central sticking point has been who controls Conseco Fieldhouse," with the CIB saying if it's going to take on the cost of paying all operating expenses for a tenant that already pays no rent, it wants control of the arena back. The Pacers are reportedly "resistant" to this.

The Star article also quotes me (as saying that these kinds of talks always drag on longer than expected), but the quote of the day goes to economist Roger Noll, who told the paper: "In the absence of an active attempt by some other city to get them, deadlines like that are meaningless. The crucial issue has to do with whether they have any other options, and those don't come overnight."

In other words, pay no attention to the Pacers' "deadlines," pay attention to what's going on in other cities. Like, say, Las Vegas, which is busily working on new arena plans to lure ... um, whoops, never mind.


It would be helpful if the Star published all of the facts. For example the CIB isn't obligated to reopen the contract or the fact that the Pacers can't move without paying penalties or the fact that the Pacers get free use of a parking garage. But in this town we are used to biased reporting, especially when the subject is pro sports.

Posted by IndyRes on June 16, 2010 11:16 AM

I own and manage residential and commercial property. Not much, but some.

I have never been moved to allow a tenant to stay rent free (much less paid them to stay), no matter how much I liked them, nor how much I thought my building (or city) was "put on the map" by having such a fine tenant in place.

Any operating subsidy is by definition an admission that the business itself is not viable. Ship these freeloading, loser deadbeats out as fast as you can.

Posted by John Bladen on June 17, 2010 11:01 PM

The Pacers can threatened to move to Lucas Oil Stadium. Oh wait....the CIB operates that stadium too. What about Kansas City at the Sprint Center?

Posted by Daniel Francis on June 19, 2010 04:59 PM

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