What would the city and people of Indianapolis do without the Colts® and the Pacers®?
The past couple of months I have expressed paranoia about those franchises’ owners. If they detect any “spare” change rattling about in the City’s coffers, there appears a new need for monies for one or another of the teams.
To the best of my knowledge, no one has been shown the books of YOUR Indiana Pacers®. The Pacers® had built for them a new arena in 1999, now called Bankers Life® Fieldhouse. YOUR Indiana Pacers® receive all of the revenues from the place—whether the event is a basketball game, a monster truck rally or a concert. I have not attended a monster truck rally, at Bankers Life® Fieldhouse or anywhere, for that matter. I have attended a concert there. The acoustics for a monster truck rally probably are better.
With ticket sales brisk these past few seasons as the effects of the old Toxic Pacers® and the meltdown in suburban Detroit have worn off, income from any events rolling into their pockets, and the need EVEN TO PAY COSTS OF OPERATING THE BUILDING LIFTED FROM THEIR SHOULDERS—sorry about that, but one of the cats stepped on the “caps lock” button on the keyboard but, having read the passage that was rendered “upper case” by feline forepaw, I will keep the caps written by the cat—the Pacers® ownership consistently has claimed it loses money. If ownership is relieved of rent and building operation costs, receives a cut of NBA® revenues, and receives all revenues from a building the costs of construction of construction of which were borne by somebody else—we, the taxpayers—how can the Pacers lose money?
The Pacers’ ® last major money grab really was to help finance payment of fees related to estate transition. If Herb Simon passes away—I say “if” because, these days, almost anything seems possible for the One Percent—his heirs face slim times to keep the franchise in family hands. One should remember this was an NBA® franchise kept in Indianapolis in the late 1970s thanks to public donations raised in a telethon with a goal, as I remember it, of twelve million dollars ($12 million).
Taxpayers have no way of ascertaining the financial condition of the Pacers®. The Pacers® are, after all, a private corporation with a franchise in a not-for-profit corporation—the National Basketball Association®. We just have to take the words of Pacers’® spokes people as true.
The Indianapolis Colts ® have similar financial problems. Indianapolis built one stadium for them—the Hoosier Dome. At the time the deal was so sweet that Colts® were the most profitable franchise in another not-for-profit corporation—the National Football League®. When the owners of other NFL® franchises realized how American cities would whore themselves out to keep an NFL® franchise from—SHUDDER! (Damn cat again)—those franchises fell over each other to squeeze the public for more money.
The Colts® soon sank in rankings—not as to football prowess, but as to profitability. People became depressed in the Colts ® organization. They decided the Colts® needed a new place, too. So we built Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts® get healthy cuts of non-football revenues, plus revenues from concessions. At the time those items were negotiated, Pacers® ownership was miffed that they were left out of the Lucas Oil Stadium talks.
An almost obscene image, from a few weeks ago, was of Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts®, passing out hundred-dollar bills to fans outside the Colts® training camp. With all the public subsidies the Colts® have received, those c-notes really came from us.
And that brings me to today and a news item about the NFL®.
I do not care for Super Bowl® half-time shows. I rarely watch the Super Bowl® these days. The Colts® and da Bears® usually are out by the time of the Big Game®. But the half-time show is so popular, now the NFL® will seek to charge acts for the privilege of performing at half-time.
My point is that the NFL® will squeeze any pennies it can squeeze anywhere it can squeeze them.
When it comes to the public, what’s the downside? The NFL® is a monopoly exempt from anti-trust laws. The NFL®, of course, is exempt from free-market principles—it’s a monopoly free from competition. So it you do not want to support the NFL®, you do not have to support it. Unless, of course, the people who have been elected to leadership of your city go ahead and support the league anyway.
That brings me back to my PARANOIA—I swear, the damn cat is reading over my shoulder now and hits the “caps lock” button at will—about Pacers® and Colts® ownership. If there are any spare dollars out there, ownership of those corporations will beat each other to get the lact few cents from Indianapolis. No matter how bad our streets, schools, public safety or parks may be, YOUR Indiana Pacers® and the Indianapolis Colts® will have greater financial needs. The teams’ ownership will sniff out and lay claim to that money. We might get a used score board.
Professional sports teams might raise the “international and national” image of a city, but those teams, if subsidized by public dollars, are a drain. A few studies say that is not true, but the rest say teams are a financial loss.
One should remember that, if Jim Irsay or whichever family member takes over leadership of the Colts®, gets miffed, there always is Los Angeles, the second largest television market in the United States—and a market without an NFL® team.
What would Indianapolis do? Would we out-bid the people of Jacksonville or another small market? Or would we implode Lucas Oil Stadium, take the money we spend on the Colts®, buy everyone in the city a flat-screen TV, and say: choose a favorite team.
The NBA® is a greater source of fear. First, that league plays BASKETBALL—yeah, the cat was born in Indiana—a sport at the roots of the founding of this State. If you check out the Seal of the State of Indiana, in the distance, behind the guy chopping the tree, just under the buffalo, you can see kids shooting hoop outside a garage.
Second, professional basketball is becoming a world-wide phenomenon. China might want a franchise. OMG! We can’t let OUR Indiana Pacers® go over to the commies! (Right—bureaucrats in limousines are communists. I’m sure that’s what Marx and Engels thought one day would happen.) The threat of a franchise move overseas is real.
The City of Indianapolis needs a visionary leader to stop any such move before it happens. Perhaps Greg Ballard, Mayor, is that leader. As we have slept at night, with the sounds of random gunfire in the distance as people shoot each other, Mayor Ballard has been overseas. His office has said he has been in search of jobs to bring back to Indianapolis.
Perhaps his mission has been different. Perhaps he has gone overseas to dump cash on various cities in China, India, and wherever the hell else he’s traveled to convince them not to seek an NBA® franchise, or at least not one from Indianapolis.
Of course, at the same time, they palmed off the idea of our playing cricket on the East side. Those people in Asia sure can be wily!