The Indy Eleven soccer team would generate just $2 million to $4 million a year in ticket sales, a fraction of the $51 million that owner Ersal Ozdemir has estimated a new downtown stadium would generate including non-soccer events, according to an independent analysis by the Legislative Services Agency.So Ozdemir overestimated revenue by 20 times the likely figure in order to put taxpayers on the hook for his new downtown soccer stadium? As incredibly bad as that deal would be, it would still be better than the Broad Ripple Parking Garage/Commercial Center, built for with taxpayer dollars and simply given away to Ozdemir's company Keystone Construction.
Ozdemir has said the stadium would generate $5.1 million in ticket taxes. At a tax rate of
10 percent, that’s $51 million in revenue. Ozdemir’s estimate includes other events, while the LSA’s analysis considered only soccer.
Nevertheless, one critic of publicly financed stadiums describes Ozdemir’s figure as “completely insane.”
“There’s no way on earth you could get $5 million a year in ticket taxes from a minor-league soccer franchise even with concerts and other events,” said Neil deMause, the Brooklyn-based author behind the Field of Schemes book and blog.
DeMause noted the average Major League Soccer franchise—a step above the Indy Eleven—does about $8 million per year in ticket sales.
“It baffles me where they came up with that number," he said.
To reach $5.1 million in ticket-tax revenue, the venue would have to sell in tickets alone more than four times the total revenue of the Indianapolis Indians. The well-established Indians reported a record $11.8 million in revenue in 2013, including tickets and concessions.
Not all corporate tax breaks are created equal, and it is important to note that the one being proposed to help finance a stadium for the city’s new professional soccer team, Indy Eleven, is not some sort of wild boondoggle. In fact, it’s a sensible, fair proposal that would greatly help the city while not in any way stealing money from schools, roads or other essential city services.Well, at least we know Tully did not major in Math in college.
I make that last point because I’ve heard charges of the opposite from some readers and social media critics who are portraying the stadium as another example of misplaced priorities, or a corporate giveaway that could hurt other city services. That’s simply not the case.