Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Colts' Coming PR Troubles

Last night, the Colts dropped their Monday night game to the Tennessee Titans 31-21, leaving them 3-4 and 4 games behind the Titans in the division. The odds of winning the division at this point are very remote. If the Colts are going to make the playoffs it will almost certainly have to be as a wild card.

The positive image the Colts have in the Indianapolis' community is based on only one thing: winning. Beyond winning, the Colts have foolishly not seen the need to cultivate good will in the community. First, the Colts got elected officials to push through a tax increase in Marion County and surrounding counties to pay for the construction of a new stadium that they insisted they must have or they would move. Then the Colts insisted that they be paid for breaking the lease on the RCA Dome. The Capital Improvement Board also gave to the Colts half the non-football income and advertising revenue from Lucas Oil Stadium. As a result, the CIB is left with a $20 million operating deficit for the facility. When the Colts organization was recently asked about the deficit, they replied they were only a "tenant" in the building and they shouldn't be asked to plug the gap.

This year the east side of Indianapolis was hit with a tornado and several parts of the states experienced devastating losses due to flooding. How did the Colts organization give back to the community? They pledged a whole $50,000... that is if people matched the Colts' contribution. $50,000 isn't enough to rebuild a single house. For the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Irsay, who are both now worth billions due to the new Lucas Oil Stadium deal, to only contribute $50,000 is like me putting a penny into the Salvation Army kettle.

The Colts are going down a foolish road. While winning makes them popular in the community, the minute that winning ends, the Colts have nothing to fall back on. If the Colts were smart, they would be trying to build good will in the community rather than basing everything on their continuing to win. Those days of winning may be over sooner than we Colts' fans want to think.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post. Talk about the proverbial chickens coming home to roost... It's going to be a long season for the Colts AND the taxpayers.

Downtown Indy said...

Why, of course this is "all Tony Dungy's fault."

Soon we will be hearing that one making the rounds.