Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Indy Beats Out Chicago To Host Big 10 Tourney--At A Cost

The Big Ten has chosen Indianapolis over Chicago as its host for the Big 10 men's and women's basketball tournaments at least through 2012. Indianapolis officials claim the city will realize between $70-$100 million over the 5-year period according to the Star's Michael Pointer.

There is a flip-side to the win. Indianapolis had to find $400,000 to give to the Big 10 each year that it hosts the tournament "for a possible loss in ticket sales," which amounts to $2 million over the 5-year period. Conseco Fieldhouse has 4,000 fewer seats than the United Center. So where will the city get the $2 million? The Marion Co. Capital Improvement Board will kick in $100,000, as will the state of Indiana the Star reports. The Pacers and other private sources will make up the difference.

Should Indianapolis be required to pay money to the Big Ten to host the tournament? That's certainly a debatable point. It does not appear entirely clear that the tournament would actually realize fewer ticket sales in Indianapolis, even with the smaller capacity of Conseco. It is also probably the case that the Big 10's costs for conducting the tournament are significantly less if it is conducted in Indianapolis instead of Chicago. The estimated $70-100 million in revenues the tournament will generate also seems a little inflated, but it is no doubt a net gain for the city's tourism sector.

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