Sunday, November 27, 2011

Smaller Market Pacers Win from the Lockout; Will Indianapolis Taxpayers Still Be Asked to Pay Tens of Millions of Dollars to Subsidize the Pacers?

Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz is reporting that the smaller market Indiana Pacers have won concessions in the new deal that will allow the team to be more profitable:
The NBA season won't begin until Christmas, but already, the Indiana Pacers have won.

So have all the league's small-market, small-revenue teams -- the Hornets and Bobcats, the Kings and the Bucks and several others.

Assuming the new labor deal is confirmed by both sides, not only will we have NBA basketball back on our radar -- and not a moment too soon given the grim fortunes of the local pro and college football teams -- but we will have a reconstituted NBA that gives the little guys a better chance to compete with the L.A.s, New Yorks and Bostons.
To see the rest of the article, click here.

Conseco Fieldhouse
To refresh people's memories, we taxpayers paid to construct Conseco Fieldhouse.  (We actually owe more on the building now than when it was built 12 years ago.) The 1999 agreement was that the Pacers would be responsible for the expense of running the building and the team would receive 100% of the basketball and non-basketball revenue from Conseco.  After the sweetheart deal Jim Irsay received for Lucas Oil Stadium, the Simons, the owners of the Pacers, begin to complain that their 1999 deal was not sweet enough.  After discussions during the summer of 2010, the City agreed to pay $10 million for each of the next three years to cover the Pacers' operating expenses and to sink $3.5 million into new improvements.  Part of that taxpayer money went for a new ribbon advertising loop in Conseco from which the Pacers get 100% off the advertising revenue.
One of the reasons for the City said it opted for a three year "bridge deal" rather than a long term deal to cover the final 10 years of the contract was that the new collective bargaining agreement might put the Pacers in a more profitable position where the team would need less taxpayer support.
Now that in fact has happened will the City resist demands by the Simons that taxpayers that taxpayers continue to pay the cost of operatiing Conseco Fieldhouse?  Don't count on it.  The Simons know the City's crack negotiators (said with all possible sarcasm) will immediately cave on the issue and give the Pacers everything they ask for.  Expect discussions to begin next year and that the Pacers's annual subsidy will actually guess is from $10 million to $15 million.

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