McCarthy: NFL Problems Mean Trouble for Indy

September 19, 2017

by Fred McCarthy

We’ve written all too frequently about the outrageous financial agreement the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) has with the local basketball team. The team claims inability to operate in the black, despite favorable circumstances wildly surpassing the dreams of almost any other business owner.

Team management comes before the CIB and, as nearly we can tell without presenting any valid backup paperwork, makes its claim and receives additional millions of taxpayer dollars. The CIB “hardball” approach to negotiations seems to be a question. “Are you sure that is enough?”

We bring the problem up now, and in the lead paragraph use the phrase “almost any other business owner,” because of recent reports on the seeming drop in popularity, and resulting revenues, for both the National Football League and its member teams. We are, of course, specifically interested in these figures as they apply to our local folks.

A recent article in the Indianapolis Star carried a lead saying, “(Colts) Game Tickets Cheaper than Going to the Movies.”  We learn that average ticket prices are at $116.86 compared with $163.15 two years ago. And that $32 upper-level seats may be going currently for as little $10.

A rough estimate of ticket revenues is provided when multiplying the two averages by 66,000, the seating capacity of the sold-out stadium. That two-year drop is a little over $3 million — per game.

We are, perhaps, being naïve in bringing up this subject at all. But surely our billionaire businessmen are already getting teary eyed, and we feel certain that in this case footballs will bounce in the same direction as basketballs.

With any continuation of the fortunes of the last two years, we fear that crying towels will be in massive use at both ends of Georgia Street in Indy. Dare we hope the CIB might get out the ponchos, the umbrellas and the boots and begin a new and different approach?

Fred McCarthy, an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and editor of the blog indytaxdollars, represented various taxpayer and business organizations before the Indiana General Assembly for 40 years, being awarded a Sagamore of the Wabash by two governors along the way.


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