Thursday, April 22, 2010

Conseco's Growing Debt

It cost about $184 million to build Conseco Fieldhouse 11 years ago. Today, the CIB owes $214 million in principal and interest on the building. Sound familiar? The same thing was true of the RCA Dome. We owed more on it when we imploded it to build LOS than what it cost to build more than two decades earlier. That's because the CIB has never been forced to live within its means. It constantly shifts money around so Peter can pay Paul, resulting in even greater debt on these sports palaces.

Debt service on Conseco is currently $13 million a year and is expected to climb to $24 million a year by 2027 when it is to be paid off according to WTHR's Mary Milz. That should give the CIB pause when it comes to offering a $15 million a year subsidy to the Pacers, but it doesn't. The CIB's Paul Okeson only wants to talk about the "$60 million economic impact" the Pacers bring to downtown. Of course, he throws in the impact of concerts and other non-Pacer events into that figure, which will still occur long after the Pacers are gone. And then there's this. Conseco has used up over half of its useful, life expectancy for the Pacers. These sports arenas are viable only for about 20 years.


Michael said...

20+ states have an income tax on professional athletes who come to play - why don't we? The CIB could easily get millions from that.

Downtown Indy said...

We need to work up a deal with the promoter who operates in the Murat.

Tell them they can have all the naming rights they want down at Conseco and pay rent on those dates they have an event.

Tell them they can book all the events they want.

We run the food and bev concessions, they run their merchandise concessions and we each keep our own profits.

Sean Shepard said...

@Michael - you would support creating a tax that targets someone solely based on their chosen profession? Remember, the athletes did not jack us for the arena money, the team owners and monopoly sports franchises did. Don't be a "player hater" LoL ;-)

@AI - what is the structure of the existing debt or what has happened that allows that after 11 years of payments, MORE is owed on the property than it cost to build? This stuff needs to get paid down and off the books not linger forever paying infinite amounts of interest. Do we need to schedule a meeting between the CIB, City Council members, Mayor's Office and Dave Ramsey?

Cato said...

Yeah, but the Pacers were good when this was built, and the Colts were mediocre.

When the Colts start sucking again, it's going to be bad around here.

M Theory said...

I love it!

I don't care if we give Simons $15 million if we tax his players to get it!

That's a fabulous idea!

Blog Admin said...

DI, I agree. The Murat Shriners gave Live Nation a 99 year lease and they're able to operate that. I'm unaware of if they have exeprience running a venue outside of theater, comedy shows, and concerts,but if they do, then they should be signed.

Live Nation or any other promoter would kill to get the deals that Pacers Entertainment has gotten.

Marycatherine Barton said...

County government had a lot of nerve saddling us with all this debt for stadiums downtown.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Michael - I think we do that now as part of the Downtown Sports Development Area.

There needs to be a law that all bonds, not just the ones backed by property taxes, cannot be refinanced for more than the amount still owed or for longer duration than remains. Its just prudent.