Monday, May 18, 2009

Groups Charged 25% Or More To Use Lucas Oil Stadium

Under the terms of the CIB's lease agreement with the Indianapolis Colts, the team keeps half of the revenues Lucas Oil Stadium generates from non-game events. Groups who previously hosted events in the RCA Dome are experiencing fee increases of 25% to 40% to host their events in the Lucas Oil Stadium. Some of these groups have received grants from the CIB to host their events in Indianapolis. So guess what? Part of the reason the public is being asked to bail out the CIB is so the CIB can continue making grants to these groups to entice them to continue hosting their events in Indianapolis, notwithstanding the higher fees. The IBJ's Scott Olson writes:

Organizations hosting events at Lucas Oil Stadium already expected to pay more than they did at the RCA Dome, but some fear the Capital Improvement Board’s financial difficulties could drive costs even higher.

The concern is greater for not-for-profits operating on tight budgets that likely will pay at least 25 percent more to use the stadium compared with rates at the RCA Dome. In addition, some are receiving fewer grant dollars from the CIB, further straining financial resources.

Music For All, the former Bands of America Organization that relocated to Indianapolis from Chicago in 2003, will conduct its November Grand National Championships in Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time. CEO L. Scott McCormick anticipates that stadium costs will be higher than at other venues hosting Music for All events, such as the Georgia Dome in Atlanta or Alamodome in San Antonio.

“It has clearly become the most expensive of all the [stadiums] we use around the country, and that clearly was not the case with the RCA Dome,” McCormick said. “The challenge in this economy is, how do you navigate those waters?”

The Indiana High School Athletic Association did so by raising ticket prices. In 2007, the last year it held football championships in the RCA Dome, the IHSAA paid $152,000 in rental fees. Last year, in the new stadium, those costs climbed more than 40 percent, to $261,000, according to the IHSAA . . ,

The ICVA markets the CIB’s venues. ICVA Director of Communications Bill Benner declined to discuss the not-for-profit’s contract concerns.

To step up city marketing efforts, ICVA requested up to $5 million in additional yearly funding from the CIB that it has not received. The ICVA’s $10.5 million budget ranks below many of its competitors’. Only Minneapolis’ $9.6 million is less. In contrast, San Antonio’s visitors association receives $20 million.

Nice little shell game the CIB guys have going on, eh? The Colts demand and get one half of the non-game event revenues. Fees for these events are jacked. The groups that pay these fees come running to the CIB asking for additional grant money to offset the higher fees. The net effect is that the CIB uses its revenues from non-game events to pay for these grants. The Colts get to keep the extra money. The CIB doesn't have sufficient funds to pay the operating and maintenance costs for LOS. You're asked to pay higher taxes and use more of your tax revenues to finance their little shell game.


Downtown Indy said...

"It has clearly become the most expensive of all the [stadiums] we use around the country, and that clearly was not the case with the RCA Dome."

Dang, I sure don't remember THAT being mentioned even once in the hard-sell that went on before the deal was inked. I only remember pictures and glib praise about the wonderful new venue that would have events beating down our door to get in.

What an ugly, nasty joke the CIB has played on us and everyone they expected to use the new facility.

Unknown said...

Why couldn't the operating costs for this state-of-the-art facility be estimated correctly BEFORE the go-ahead was given? That's right, they couldn't even estimate the construction costs correctly. These fat cat CIB guys need to be shown the door. They're not elected anyway. Pat Early is the son of old Boss Rex Early. Why do they get to play with my money and tax, tax, tax?

Downtown Indy said...

While this is going on, the city is about to close yet another community facility - the ice rink at Ellenberger Park - because it's losing $150K annually.

The Pacers claim they are losing tens of millions annually, but we're going to pay them %15M annually so they keep going.

But we don't have $150K to retain a facility used by dozens of groups (including IPS) to provide recreation, discipline and a source of pride for hundreds or thousands of the non-wealthy people of Indianapolis.

How can that happen in a city where we have a great CIB tending to our economic development? We should have tons of money for keeping Ellenberger, the pools, and all the other things that make Indianapolis a good place to live.

But all we seem capable of is paying off billionaires so they don't leave town.

The priorities seem all wrong, don't you think?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm sorry, but Norm Lowery should be sacked from his job. Last year, they pruned the trees in the park and left the branches sitting there for months, creating a hazard. They didn't bother awarding mowing contracts for the parks on time, allowing grass to grow two feet high in some places. They're closing a bunch of pools at parks for the entire season because they couldn't schedule repairs during the off season. It's obvious the guy running the joint either doesn't care about our parks or is too incompetent to do the job in a professional way.

jabberdoodle said...

The Mayor is not demonstrating any cogent thread of logic. I know that is a lot for a citizen to expect of the Mayor of a large city.

He demanded that the Parks budget be cut by $5M from last year's budget. Stuart Lowry said he could do it without closing parks or selling off assets.

Now the Mayor is in today's paper saying how the City Market needs to get off the $250,000 City subsidy they are on.

Maybe the City Market and Parks boards can ask the CIB for some pointers on how to get tens of millions out of this Mayor.

Downtown Indy said...

I'd forgotten about the tree limbs last year.

They cut tons of branches along Pleasant Run Creek, and where do you suppose they put the piles? Why, right on the trail so no body could get through without walking in the street! And it stayed there for several weeks.

M Theory said...

Mayor Ballard promised us his #1 goal was to make Indianapolis a "liveable" city and he's failing on everything that matters to the livability of this city in favor of the elites.

Parks, ice skating, swimming pools, police protection, etc. are all being pushed aside in favor of feeding the billionaire sports team owners and arts elites (most of whom don't need the money).


By the time the Mayoral race rolls around again, we'll be organized and ready to run the opposition against Ballard....just like we did against Peterson.