Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Field of Schemes Blog Mocks Legislature, Indianapolis Star for Not Doing Math on Soccer Stadium

Once again it takes Neil deMause author of the book Field of Schemes, and blog of the same name, to do some elementary math that the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee and the state's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, failed to do:
The Indiana state assembly’s ways and means committee voted 20-3 yesterday to move a bill forward to fund an $82 million stadium for the minor-league Indy Eleven soccer team, because that’s what they do in Indiana. The committee did, at least, discuss some new details of how team owner Ersal Ozdemir expects the stadium to generate $5 million a year in new ticket taxes:
The team released a report by KSM Consulting of Indianapolis that says the 18,500-seat stadium would open in 2018.  
The report estimates 66 events per year, including 15 professional women’s soccer games and 10 concerts. 
The report also estimates average paid attendance and average ticket prices for various events: 
—Indy Eleven: 16,500 at $29.50. 
—Women’s professional soccer: 8,500 at $17. (There is a nine-team National Women’s Soccer League.) 
—Concerts: 10,000 at $55. (There is another outdoor concert venue planned for Downtown.) 
The report estimates six events as “other soccer,” five as “other events, exempt” (from ticket taxes such as school sports) and 10 as “other events.”
The Indianapolis Star, which is where that’s from, didn’t bother to do the math on what all that would add up to, so let’s do it for them. Let’s see, 15 Indy Eleven home games times 16,500 tickets per game times $29.50 per ticket (for minor-league soccer? okay then) times a 10% ticket tax is $730,000. Fifteen women’s soccer games would generate another $217,000. Concerts would provide $550,000. Even if you’re optimistic about those 16 “other” taxable events, then, you’re still looking at around $2 million in ticket taxes, tops, not even enough to repay half the state’s costs.
Once again it takes an out-of-state publication to delve into the details and tear apart an insider deal being pushed through the Indiana legislature, a deal that has virtually no public support. This just shows that you hire the right lobbyists and law firms in Indiana, it doesn't matter how much a proposal screws over the public, it's going to pass.


Hernan Dough said...

Is this some form of demonic possession? When do "we" pay off the Hoser-Doom?

Anonymous said...

That's why they needed to tear down the Indianapolis Tennis Complex.

This plan has been in the works for a very long time, and they couldn't have a 10,000 seat outdoor concert facility competing with the new Soccer stadium.

If this complex is to hold all these concerts, why are none of them currently being held at Victory Field?

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why Lucas Oil Stadium, which sits empty all but 20 days a year, is not good enough for this one year old team?
Can someone explain to me why Louisville only had to cough up 500k to cover part of the cost to alter their minor league baseball stadium to accommodate a new minor league soccer team?
It's not just the $82M price tag folks - you have to operate and maintain this facility too. Annual O&M will be in the millions - on top of debt service.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 10:18, I was told by someone who has a long history with soccer that they failed to design Lucas Oil Stadium to also accommodate soccer. The dimensions aren't right and can't be adjusted. That would seem to be a huge mistake by those who designed the football stadium.

Your other points are excellent. I'll have to look into the Louisville approach.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ogden, the city was bidding to host world cup matches at Lucas Oil not too long ago. Were they planning temporary modifications to accommodate soccer?



Pete Boggs said...

Why don't Indy non-residents; Fishers Representative Todd Huston & Westfield Mayor Andy Cook get together on a soccer stadium on the backs of their Hamilton County citizens?

Indy's in-towners appear to have outa-towner "Representative" Huston promoting a tax increase- for them; making Indy a premier toxi-city destination.

The party of Constitutionally restrained, responsible, government?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 11:46, that's a good question. Let me check with my soccer guy who told me the arena wasn't designed for soccer and couldn't get modified. He was actually unhappy that they didn't design it that way.

ted d said...

Paul, and article about a soccer stadium economic deisaster a few miles south of phila: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-chester-pennsylvania-soccer-stadium-disaster

ted d. said...

similar story in harrison, nj, adjacent to Newark, and 10 miles by subway from NYC: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-06-09/red-bulls-stadium-bonds-sap-new-jersey-town-as-condominium-visions-vanish

Pete Boggs said...

Excellent articles Ted; exposing the debt service pinch to municipal budgets depleting or affecting fire & police, unfulfilled promises of other geographic development (half & unbuilt projects), lowered bond ratings...

Both articles describe stadia in far more densely populated areas than Indianapolis & hence a broader fan base; with economically failed results.

The ways & means committee is responsible; for applying Constitutional & feasibility metrics to demands on the public purse. Their vote in favor of moving this forward, is just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

Comment people: of course Lucas Oil Stadium is "designed" and can host professional soccer games. It already has. The people who designed LOS specifically made sure the seats were moved back a few yards to fit a soccer field. Paul: for better posts and investigative journalism, why not call Peter Wilt at Indy Eleven and ask him why Lucas Oil Stadium or Victory Field don't meet the needs of Indy Eleven?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 12:14,

I went back to my source and I had misunderstood - that LOS dimensions are such that they support soccer being played there.

As far as "better posts" and "investigative journalism" unfortunately this blogging gig pays squat and I don't have time to, for free, do what reporters used to do. I see myself as more of a commentator and even that takes a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

The Indy 11 wouldn't play in Lucas for a variety of reasons; 1)Colts get the lion's share of revenue from Lucas and 2)their owner would get less $$$. As usual it's all about the money.

Anonymous said...

I'm anonymous 12:14 and this one and none of the others. Paul: LOL

Pete Boggs said...

Anon 12:14: Professional teams aren't subsidies & should therefore fund their own specs- as real world businesses in this community do.

It's a myth that we have "professional sports" in Indy- we have only subsidies or professional raiders of the public purse.

Cities where owners build & pay for their own stadia are professional sports towns.

Being a host city shouldn't mean being fed upon by parasites. Ticket holders can post a private placement against all losses with no reliance on the public treasury- it might even win new fans.