Could Indianapolis lose the Colts and the Pacers?

The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, a government body that manges the operation of the Conseco Field House home of the Indiana Pacers and Lucas Oil Stadium home of the Colts, is out of money. Worst than that it is facing a tenuous situation with the tenants of both buildings.

Many would be quick to blame the bad economy for this shortfall in funds, but the real story here is the City cut sweetheart deal with the owner of the Colts to keep the football team in town. That deal has so depleted the funds of the board that it cannot financially operate either stadium going forward. Since the Pacers can no longer afford the 15 million it takes to operate the field house annually, it seems likely that one or both of these teams will be in new cities shorty.

The City gave the colts a ridiculous lease for Lucas Oil Stadium. While the Pacers pay the entire operating cost of their stadium, the Colts merely pay 250,00 a year for the lease to the stadium that opened last year. In return the Colts keep 100% of all the football related revenue generated by the new stadium. Annually these various revenue stream bring in around 30 million dollars to the Colts.

Now the city officials want to raise taxes on the citizens for its failure to negotiate a reasonable lease on the Colt’s stadium. Not outrages enough yet? The City also financed all but 100 million dollars of the construction cost for Lucas Oil Stadium. The total construction of that building cost some 719 million dollars. The city also gave the Colts 27 years to repay their part of the construction costs.

The Pacers should not be expected to fund their own stadium when city officials are so willing to give away the bank to the cross town Colts. Nor should the citizens of Indianapolis have to pay extra taxes to keep either team in the city. In the end the owner of the colts should be shamed into giving more money to the city.