Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keep Super Bowl Bid Win In Perspective

You will be hearing from plenty of people in the coming days who will be touting the huge benefits Indianapolis will reap from winning the opportunity to host the 2012 Super Bowl. You will hear economic benefit numbers being tossed around in the range of $250 million. And you will be hearing various politicians and elitist insiders standing in line to take credit for today's announcement. The local news media will be gushing more than anyone because they stand to benefit economically more than most from the event. Here's some thoughts to keep in mind as people celebrate today's win:

  • In order to land this event, Marion County and neighboring counties had to raise taxes and borrow money to build Lucas Oil Stadium at a cost of $750 million. Without the new stadium, Indianapolis stood no chance of hosting a Super Bowl.
  • Private sources will have to contribute at least $25 million to front costs for the NFL to put on the event.
  • The NFL and its affiliates will receive special tax benefits at your expense for the privilege of allowing us to host this event.
  • Both the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis have essentially written blank checks to the NFL "to provide all governmental services and support reasonably necessary to the success of Super Bowl XLVI and related Official Events within its jurisdiction". The City alone will shell out at least $1.5 million in over-time pay for police officers to support the event.
  • Very few Indianapolis residents will have an opportunity to attend the event. Even special events for the Super Bowl are "by invitation only" and a large section of downtown will be cordoned off to keep the "uninvited" out and limit access to "invited guests only."
  • The revenue benefit from hosting the Super Bowl will be less than the economic benefit the City enjoys annually from hosting the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. Only a relatively small number of businesses and employees associated with the service industry will directly benefit from the Super Bowl.
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not improve Indianapolis schools. (See Detroit)
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not reduce crime in the City. (See Detroit)
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not reduce the growing number of abandoned homes in declining neighborhoods outside the mile square. (See Detroit)
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not fix the City's crumbling infrastructure. (See Detroit)
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not clean up the corruption in city government. (See Detroit)
  • Hosting the Super Bowl will not make up for 2,000 lost jobs at Eli Lilly and thousands of other high-paying manufacturing jobs which have been leaving the City in recent years and will probably continue to do so.

I think that just about covers it. Go ahead and celebrate the City's big win today. The people who worked on the bid deserve credit for their hard work. Just don't forget about the big problems still facing the City in spite of today's announcement.

And now here's what Mayor Greg Ballard's office has to say about today's big win:

NFL team owners voted today to award thebid for the 2012 Super Bowl to the City of Indianapolis.

Today, a five member delegation representing Indianapolis was given a 15minute opportunity to present the city's bid to NFL team owners. Following the presentations by Indianapolis, Phoenix, Ariz. and Houston, Tex., team owners met to cast their votes for the winning city.

"This is great news for not only Indianapolis, but for the whole State of Indiana. The decision made by the NFL owners shows their recognition of the hard work of our team and the strength of our community," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "This was truly a community bid. It began with aprocess of involving anyone interested in being a part of it, and ended with our 8th grade ambassadors flying all over the country to hand-deliver our final bid package."

Studies of past Super Bowl host cities show that Indianapolis can expect 100,000 visitors over the course of one week and over an estimated $120 million direct spend into the local economy.

"We are once again eager to share with the world our incomparable package of convenience and outstanding facilities," said Bob Bedell, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. "This decision today stands as a testament to our deliberately designed downtown, which has become the ideal destination for this and many other major events. I know our thousands of hospitality service providers and community volunteers will once again deliver with excellence."

Tamara Zahn, President of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. agreed."We are thrilled! This is a sensational score for Downtown Indianapolis," Zahn said. "Now it is up to all of us to exceed NFL expectations and deliver what we know Indianapolis can do!"


MissouriDemocrat said...

I wonder if we the people collectively could get the city and state to write us a blank check? This is wonderful on the one hand and terrible on the other. I think it is great for us to host such an event, and a disaster that we have to bribe millionaire sports league owners to serve them with amenities that we the people can't get. We are lucky if they send us the tax bills on time.

artfuggins said...

Some people are against everything and always see something negative in every action.

Daniel said...

Tech High School will benefit.


Gary R. Welsh said...

From the Mayor's press release:

A privately financed $9 million athletic facility located on the campus of Tech High School on the city's near eastside. Used as a training/practice facility for one of the competing teams. Following Super Bowl 2012, the facility will be turned over to the school district for student use.

If better sports facilities equated to better schools, Indiana would have the best schools in the nation. In case you haven't noticed, our schools don't compare favorably to schools in other states.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I should add that the requirement that we build that new $9 million, indoor practice facility as a condition to hosting the event points up just how absurd this process has become. We have wonderful indoor facilities in Bloomington and Lafayette which could have satisfied this requirement, but no, we had to have another in the City. Didn't the Colts have to travel all the way from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami at last year's Super Bowl? We already built one indoor facility for the Colts. Why not build another one for this one-time event?

Bart Lies said...

Ask the (former) employees of Frank E Irish about how positive of a financial impact this stadium is having.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jack Swarbrick quote following today's announcement: "We will turn the City over to this event."

Citizen Kane said...

Those NFL owners probably near die from choking because they are laughing so hard after suckering another city to "host" their event.

By the way, nice summary - it encapsulates the very things that I have been saying to people for months (just not all at once).

Yeah, your comment at 9:06 pm says it all.

Anonymous said...

If this doesn't show how the US is following in Rome's footsteps, I don't know what does. Building coliseums to appease the serfs. If your smart, you are using your stadium tax deductions so you don't have to pay for any of this. This would include:
#1: Reducing tips by 1% to off-set the stadium tax.
#2: Not eating at anymore fast food places where you cannot deduct the 1%.
#3: Eating at fast food places, but lowering the amount of money you give to charity by the amount you are paying for the stadium.

I did have a chance to benefit from this, but now that the practice field has been moved, that is no longer the case. As long as I don't benefit, I don't pay. Why should anyone pay for anything they don't benefit from?

Anonymous said...

The Indianapolis Star spun the real story on this deal when they stated that building the $9 million "practice facility" at Tech High School was the key to landing this Super Bowl.
They later wnet on to mention that they don't have all the "private funds" needed to build this facility at Tech and may have to build it elsewhere if $$ can't be raised.
Translation: The City of Indianapolis will provide the excess funds needed. Why? They are suckering the people into thinking it is good "for the area" and will create a "legacy". What a load of crap!
Where in the hell has the city been in years past in dealing with the problems on the near east side? Now they need a practice facility for the Super Bowl and since Tech is protected by a high iron fence all around and guarded entrances it gets the nod.
That $9 million will also be spent on condemning and demolishing abandoned houses and businesses in that area to make it nice for out out of town guests. It will also displace the poor and puch them further east out of this area into my neighborhood which has blocks upon blocks of abandoned houses and businesses not included in that TIF area.
Translation: The crime and poverty and problems just move out of this new soon-to-be white gentrified area into worse areas that the city couldn't care less about.
Indianapolis is using the Detroit blueprint and just as Detroit they will start demolishing abandoned properties to put on a good face.
It didn't work in Detroit and it won't work here.
Don't be fooled, that $9 million is coming out of the city's coffers and we get to pay for it.
My gone-to-hell neighborhood that NESCO is supposed to represent sits just outside this area and by 2012 will look worse than the worst parts of Detroit and I've been to Detroit.
Does the city think we are so damn stupid as to believe that the $9 million "legacy" bullshit clinched the deal?
Get ready to bend over.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

I certainly agree with your assessment, AI.
This will end up costing the taxpayers of Marion County millions.
Quick quiz: Which cities hosted the last three Super Bowls?
All this will do is make a few people (Bart) "feel good." It WILL NOT pay any of our bills.

Gary R. Welsh said...

IPS could use $9 million but not to build a new athletic facility. A better legacy would be spending $9 million to air condition the many IPS schools which are still without air conditioning.

Anonymous said...

Does the City of Indianapolis think we forgot that IPS still has a $450 million bond on the back burner to upgrade IPS structures?
It was put on hold by Eugene White during the tax revolt.
That supposed need for $450 million didn't go away and that's why White was in on this Super Bowl deal.

Bend over again.

Mitch said...

wawawawa - Debbie Downer!!

I read your blog a lot and have never commented because I like a lot of what you say.

Yes this will cost the city a lot of money. But if done right the exposure for the city could have a tremendous postive impact. A lot of dollars will be dropped in restaurants, hotels, and catering companies.

And I do believe no other city can do the Super Bowl like we will. Our compact walkable downtown will truly make this event shine! I don't believe anyone is promising reduced crime, better schools, and less abandoned home as a result of the Super Bowl. Now cheer up and look at the bright side!

Bart Lies said...

I shudder to think what will be the outcome of mixing together a jam-packed corridor of humanity, lots of drinking, a powerful 'your team sucks/my team rulez' mentality, and 'fire pits.'

CorrND said...

"The NFL and its affiliates will receive special tax benefits at your expense for the privilege of allowing us to host this event."

The NFL gets to set a couple rules about taxes when they're handing out a multi-hundred-million-dollar economic benefit? Stop the presses!

Sure the Super Bowl is a sweetheart deal for the NFL, but there is not a chance in hell that getting the Super Bowl is a net negative for Indy. The news that Glendale didn't come close to even at this year's Super Bowl doesn't apply because virtually all of the economic activity at SB XLVI figures to be in Marion County.

But even if the hard numbers don't even out, the hard-to-quantify, long-term benefit to the image of Indianapolis will last for a long time.

Tom of Indy said...

What a stupid post. The last thing I thought I would read on a blog named "Advance Indiana" would be some idiot criticizing the fact that Indy won the rights to host the Super Bowl. You're complaining about the city losing ten thousand or so dollars in tax revenue while not saying anything positive about the hundreds of millions in new spending that will be coming into our city nor about the tens of millions of dollars worth of international exposure and media attention that will come to Indy. This is the first time I've read this blog - and with stupid posts like this one, it will be the last. You must be in that strange, small percentage of people in that far, far 1% of the left wing who isn't happy about anything unless everyone gets to share equally in the cost and proceeds and gets to sing Kum-ba-yah while holding hands in the heart of a beautiful virgin foroest of Redwoods. Get real. I'm a supporter of most liberal causes and important social issues, but your view on this topic is just ridiculous. This is a great thing for Indy, and to say nothing but negative things shows that you are nothing but a complete ignoramus.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Tom said, This is the first time I've read this blog - and with stupid posts like this one, it will be the last. You must be in that strange, small percentage of people in that far, far 1% of the left wing who isn't happy about anything unless everyone gets to share equally in the cost and proceeds and gets to sing Kum-ba-yah while holding hands in the heart of a beautiful virgin foroest of Redwoods.

The only person displaying their ignorance here, Tom, is you. People like you have been telling the people of Indianapolis that hosting sports events is the panacea for all that ills the city. Do benefits accrue? Yes.... if you are within the mile square or have one of the few businesses which directly benefit from these events. The vast majority of city residents derive no benefit from the vast sums the city invests in being the "sports capitol of the world." Our schools are the worst in the nation, our infrastructure is crumbling, crime is too high, taxes are rising, many neighborhoods are in decline and residents are fleeing to the sububrbs. My point is very simple: Hosting a Super Bowl will change none of these systemmic problems. If you don't get that point, then you're the person showing a lack of intellect.