Monday, September 14, 2015
Lucas Oil Stadium Roof To Remain Closed Indefinitely
Officials for the Capital Improvement Board that leases Lucas Oil Stadium from the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority and, in turn, leases it to billionaire Jim Irsay rent-free, still have no idea what caused steel bolts supporting the retractable roof to break off and fall into the stands during the Colts' final pre-season game 11 days ago to cause injury to three fans struck by the falling debris. While the investigation of the cause of the malfunction continues, CIB officials have decided the retractable roof will remain closed for the time being.
Colts owner Jim Irsay had ordered the roof opened at half time during the Thursday night pre-season game on September 3, not before the game had started. A change in NFL rules this season allows stadiums with retractable roofs to be opened after the game has commenced. A previous league rule required the roof, if opened, to remain open the entire game. "We're going to bring everybody together and make absolutely sure we do have the correct answer," the CIB's Barney Levengood told the Indianapolis Star. "That takes time."
Whatever it takes to determine the cause of the problem and repair it, we know one thing for certain. Jim Irsay won't be picking up the tab. Irsay demanded the retractable roof as an added feature after striking a one-sided stadium financing agreement the CIB entered into with the Colts and state officials, which omitted a source of funding for ongoing repair and maintenance expenses. The retractable roof added as much as $70 million to the stadium's overall $720 million initial cost. CIB officials later obtained state legislative authorization, which was approved by the City-County Council, to raise a series of new local taxes to pay for the ongoing maintenance and operating expenses. Food and beverage taxes had already been raised to pay for the stadium.