No such challenge has arisen over Lucas Oil Stadium sponsorships and advertising, all of which benefit the Colts exclusively and none of which, except for the $120 million for naming the overall facility, have been disclosed as to dollar amount.
Again Tuesday, approving ad displays from eight sponsors, the CIB noted that it will not be told by the Colts how much the deals are worth. The CIB said as much about the 14 sponsorships previously sold by the team. The Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority, which is constructing the stadium that the CIB will run, likewise says it is not let in on the Colts' business in this regard.
What's missing here, from the point of view of taxpayers, is a distinction. True, the Colts were awarded all advertising-related proceeds in the stadium deal, and that is that. However, no one in government has been able to provide justification for keeping the size of the take secret from the public bodies that oversee the stadium, and from the public that owns it.
Saddled with the bulk of the $704 million cost, including any overruns, taxpayers would be interested in knowing how much might have been defrayed if the advertising were thrown into the pot. They know of the $120 million, of course. Experts have estimated that the value of the 14 sponsorships is in the tens of millions. Now there's display advertising, which taxpayers, depending on pending negotiations with the Colts, may have to pay for covering up or taking down for non-football events.
As the excitement mounts over the opening of a new season, and the bills mount as well, it's time to let every investor in the home team's success see the entire portfolio.
The CIB doesn't want you to know how much the Colts are making off of Lucas Oil Stadium at your expense because it knows just how outraged you will be when you learn those figures. The important point to be made in all of this is the fact that the CIB has no means of paying for the operating and maintenance expenses on the new stadium, which are expected to top $10 million annually. That's because the deal the CIB negotiated with the Colts is so one-sided it gives all revenue-producing opportunities to the Colts, depriving the public of any of the benefits. As far as this writer is concerned, the Colts had better plan on giving back some of that money. We the public will be damned if we dig any further into our pockets to subsidize their billion-dollar franchise. If the CIB hasn't already broached that subject with Mr. Irsay, it had better make plans. We will not stand by and allow you to use revenues intended to pay off the cost of constructing the stadium for operating and maintenance expenses. That was your cute little answer to the RCA Dome's financial woes and that's why we still owe $70 million on it, even as we prepare to tear it down.