Monday, June 07, 2010

Star Relentless In Its PR Push For Billionaire Sports Team Owners

The Indianapolis Star continues its nonstop PR push on behalf of the City's billionaire sports team owners. One of its lead stories today focuses attention on the role Herb Simon and Jim Irsay, respective owners of the Pacers and Colts, are playing in helping raise $100 million for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The story begins:

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has launched a capital campaign to increase its endowment by $100 million, and it has tapped some of the city's most influential residents to get the job done.

Co-chairing the nine-member committee are two of Indiana's four billionaires (according to Forbes magazine): Herb Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers and co-founder of Simon Property Group, and Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts. Simon and Irsay are also ISO donors.

"They're leading corporate citizens of Indianapolis," said Simon Crookall, orchestra president and CEO. "Their involvement demonstrates the close ties there are here between the sports world and the arts world."

Well, it's the least they can do. The more than $1 billion dollars the two Carmel residents have received in public dollars for their private Indianapolis ventures makes their charitable giving look like a pittance. The Glick family's contribution of tens of millions for the Cultural Trail makes the pair look stingy. If the two corporate citizens don't get the public subsidies they demand, they simply threaten to move their sports teams to another city, as evidenced by Herb Simon's latest $15 $18 million a year additional public subsidy demand for his Pacers. In the real world, we call that extortion. In Indianapolis, we're told that's being a good corporate citizen. And while we're on the subject of the ISO, did Steve Hilbert ever fulfill his multi-million dollar contribution pledge to the ISO that led to the renaming of the Circle Theater to Hilbert Circle Theater? The article doesn't mention how much the billionaire sports team owners are pledging to the ISO, but maybe it can be renamed the Irsay-Simon Circle Theater. Notice that Jay Harvey's story mentions there are 9 members serving on the committee with Irsay and Simon but none of the others are mentioned in his story.


dcrutch said...

The Star has, somewhat understandably, put their survival ahead of a mandate to serve the public. But, consider what's important to the Star when you weigh issues based in-part on their coverage.

The Sports section seems to be less in decline while narrowed news and editorial coverage is increasingly tilted. Who would consider Dan Carpenter Op-Ed anymore? The Sport section now has it's own letters section.

The Star (and local radio & TV), need those bodies in the Pacers seats, and in the Colts seats, and keeping up with the Joneses- stadium by stadium....

Marycatherine Barton said...

You tell 'em, Gary.