Monday, November 9, 2009

Star Editorial Lays Groundwork for Pacer Handout

You knew it was coming. First, on Friday it was a puff piece written by Erika Smith of the Indianapolis Star in which she discussed how great Conseco Fieldhouse has been for economic development of downtown. I discussed it on my blog.

This morning is an editorial from the Star which suggests keeping the Pacers is of paramount importance. Although the editorial stops short of endorsing $15 million per year from taxpayers to the Pacers, it is clear that the Star's editorial board is leaning toward taxpayers shelling out more money because "keeping the home team has to be a priority. " Let's not even consider for a second all those academic studies which show professional sports subsidies are a bad investment.

With the Wishard referendum, the Star's editors were adamant about overlooking certain facts that might contradict their editorial position in support of the measure. It appears to be the same thing with the request by the Pacers that the taxpayers pick up their $15 million in operating costs while they rake in all the profit on the building. I have done an extensive review of the Pacers-Conseco Fieldhouse Contract, the Pacers do not have some right just to walk away from their 20 year contract at the conclusion of the 10 year anniversary. The Early Termination provision in the contract is only triggered if 1) the team is losing money; 2) the Simons are selling the team; AND 3) the team is relocating to another city. Even then, the penalty for early termination is enormous, as I outlined in my blog. It is only near the end of the 20 year contract that the penalties for early termination drop enough to make it a reasonable option for the Simons to pursue.

The Pacers have zero leverage to demand that the taxpayers pick up their operating expenses on Conseco Fieldhouse. Nonetheless, this is just an "inconvenient fact" that the Indianapolis Star's editorial board and the Capital Improvement Board are all too willing to ignore in their zeal to dole out even more taxpayer money to a billionaire sports team owner.


Jon said...

Until the Simon organization pays the city of Indianapolis for all of their perks why should we give them more money? Pay for the parking garage, pay Circle Center rent etc. and then maybe we will consider more Pacer dollars.

Melyssa said...

This says it all.

The Indy Star is now pathetically reduced to sending door-to-door sales people in my neighborhood to get us to sign up for "free subscriptions" to Indy Star advertising bundles that they want to drop on our porches each week.


From October 08 to October 09, the Star lost more than 49,000 paid subscribers.


Can't think of anyone who deserves it more. God help the advertisers of that rag. Hopefully they are waking up and won't be wasting their money putting precious ad dollars there.