- Jim Irsay gets a share of any money you spend at the stadium, including food, beverage, memorabilia and parking.
- Irsay gets 100% of the game day ticket sales and half of the ticket sales from all non-game events.
- Any money spent on advertising at the stadium belongs to Irsay.
- Jim Irsay keeps every dime of the "sales of suites and club seats to corporations and the well-heeled."
- Irsay could make an additional $41 million a year above the $150 million or more his Colts have made in the RCA Dome.
- Irsay pays zero rent and pays none of the operating and maintenance expenses on the stadium.
Why is it necessary to screw over the taxpayers so badly? It always comes down to the size of Indianapolis' market and how the public has to fork over more if it wants a professional football team. "Smaller cities such as Indianapolis tend to shell out more for new stadiums because they fear the team will move away -- something club owners often threaten to do," Evanoff writes. For Indianapolis, that meant shelling out at least 89% of the $720 million cost to be build Lucas Oil Stadium. Evanoff's comparison of other cities' stadium deals makes it abundantly clear Irsay got the best deal in the nation. According to the figures furnished in Evanoff's story, no other public stadium cost more, except for the new stadium in Arlington, Texas for the Dallas Cowboys. Yet the public there is only covering 30% of the costs of that $1.1 billion stadium. And what does Indianapolis get? Prestige. "Keeping the team in Indianapolis lends the city a certain prestige bestowed on few American cities," Evanoff writes.
I still remember when Mayor Goldsmith renegotiated the lease on the RCA Dome back in the 1990s with the Colts. We were told that was an "ironclad" agreement. But it required the City to pay subsidies to the team if the team's revenues dropped below a certain level. Irsay started lobbying the City for a new stadium before the ink on the old deal was even dry. In the end, your government broke the lease agreement and paid Irsay a cool $40 million break-up fee so he could enter into this completely one-sided agreement. As bad as it would have seemed if the taxpayers had been required to pay a maximum of $160 million in subsidies to the Colts under that old agreement, it would have been a bargain compared to what we've been stuck with under the new stadium.