Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Another Sports Arena Paid For By Taxpayers Becomes Cash Cow For Professional Sports Team

There was buzz this week that a new sponsor's name would adore Indiana's newly-renovated Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For decades, it's been known as the Pepsi Coliseum, which paid the state about $170,000 a year for those rights. Pepsi balked at paying $500,000 a year after the State Fair Commission spent $63 million renovating the 8200-seat arena. Under a lease agreement for a professional hockey team, the Indy Fuel, with which most Hoosiers are unfamiliar, State Fair officials awarded the naming rights to the owners of the hockey team. Why state fair officials would agree to such a lousy deal when the Coliseum's draw is far more related to its draw as being a part of the state fairgrounds than a no-name hockey team is unclear.

So state fair officials hired some firm out in Denver to find a new sponsor--for the Indy Fuel. Impression Sports & Entertainment found its sponsor right here in Indiana. Carmel-based Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company will pay $600,000 a year over a 10-year period, or a total of $6 million, to Indy Fuel owners Jerry Williams and Jim and Sean Hallett. We had to hire a Denver firm to find a sponsor hiding in our own backyard? Presumably, the advertising revenue from the building built, renovated and paid for with taxpayer dollars for decades will become Indy Fuel's largest source of income since so few people attend their games. IUPUI's men's and women's basketball teams play at the Coliseum as well, which probably collectively draw more attendees than the Indy Fuel. So why do we find people in Indiana to serve in government who only know how to negotiate on behalf of sports team owners and not the public whom they are supposed to be serving? 


Anonymous said...

What's the link between Indiana Farmers and Indy Fuel? That's a huge sponsorship for a team that gets very little attention, likely a lot less than they otherwise get from State Fair traffic and other year round events at the facility. Not to mention our elected leaders so willingly give away the farm when a sports team needs a little help. Who approved giving the team naming rights anyways? Follow the money!!

Anonymous said...

Do you ever notice that the majority of advertising for any sports event is usually "underwritten" by some insurance company? Take note the next time you watch a football or basketball game. These "cute" advertisements are astronomical in cost. And their profits are skimmed from schmucks like us who keep them in business by paying their absurd premiums.
Insurance is the biggest legal scam going...with plenty of lobbyist to keep all our government representatives in their back pockets.