Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indianapolis Taxpayers Make Jim Irsay a Billionaire

The Indianapolis Star reports that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay now has accumulated wealth of $1.1 billion landing Irsay on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. Irsay's ranking is 347th.

Irsay owes his wealth almost entirely to the greatly increased value of the Colts' franchise, which is due to the sweetheart Lucas Oil Stadium agreement. That lopsided agreement also landed the Capital Improvement Board, and by extension, the Indianapolis taxpayers, deeply in debt.

How has Irsay repaid Indianapolis taxpayers for making him a billionaire? Last year during negotiations on the CIB bailout, Irsay refused to contribute a penny to helping taxpayers avoid tax increases and having to borrow money because of the lopsided Lucas Oil Stadium deal. Earlier in the year, when the east side of Indianapolis was hit with a tornado and the southern part of the state experienced floods, Irsay contributed a whole $50,000 (barely enough money to rebuild even the cheapest home destroyed in the twin tragedies) to relief efforts. Irsay even made that $50,000 contingent on the public kicking in an equal amount.

Irsay has to be the most arrogant, unappreciative owner in the NFL. Fortunately for Irsay, he has Peyton Manning and a Super Bowl quality team that more than erase Irsay's public relations gaffes that border on the legendary. That day will not last forever.


Unigov said...


Irsay's a billionaire because of tax money.

Manning makes X million a year because the company he works for basically has no expenses for capital or buildings.

And the NFL United Way commercials you see on TV are baloney - they average NFL player spends about an hour a year on charity work - and remember the United Way was part of the olts Business Alliance - a lobby group pushing for the new (taxpaer-funded) stadium.

Jon said...

Irsay inherited some of his money from dad but the vast majority of his current wealth was a gift from the taxpayers by way of the inept leadership of the CIB.

patriot paul said...
Forbes Magazine dated September 29, 2008
Irsay made the decision to spend millions of his own money to keep All-Pro players like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. The gamble paid off with a 2006 Super Bowl win.This year the Colts make a jump in our value rankings, from 21 to 8, as their enterprise value increases 18% to $1.1 billion. Radio revenues tripled!
In 1998 he drafted quarterback Peyton Manning, who's now in his second contract, a seven-year, $99 million deal signed in 2004. He's held on to stars like wide receiver Marvin Harrison ($67 million over seven years) and defensive end Dwight Freeney ($72 million over six years), selling stocks and real estate to pay $100 million in signing bonuses in the last ten years. It's paid off: The Colts are among the most successful teams of the past decade..",

USA Today: Jan. 2007 "But Indianapolis gave former owner Bob Irsay, Jim's father, a sweetheart lease and a lot of other sweeteners to seal the deal" on the new stadium.That was straight out of my pocket," Irsay says. "I've put $60 (million) to $70 million in there since 1999. When you're in a small market, you have to spend 70% of your revenue just to make the salary cap. In the big markets, it's 35-38%. Just to pay to the cap is a challenge for us."
"So Jim Irsay keeps handing out those huge bonuses. Marvin Harrison, the Colts' top receiver, got a $10 million bonus last year after catching 82 passes in 2005. Reggie Wayne, another big-play receiver, was paid a $12.5 million signing bonus last year after catching 83 passes and receiving a contract extension, like Harrison"