Friday, May 07, 2010

How Much Will The NFL Cost This City?

The price of having an NFL team in this city just keeps adding up by the tens of millions of dollars. Mayor Greg Ballard announced earlier this week the city will spend more than $12 million on a Georgia Street project that will essentially convert the span between the expanded convention center and Conseco Fieldhouse into an entertainment playground. The only reason the project is being undertaken now is because the city is hosting the Super Bowl in 2012 and wants the downtown to look as new and shiny as possible. Local residents won't get to enjoy the made-over Georgia Street during the event unless they have tickets to the event because of the zone that will be walled off from the public during Super Bowl week. Simply spending three-quarters of a billion dollars on a new stadium wasn't enough. Remember, this is the same mayor who promised that no public dollars would be spent on hosting the 2012 Super Bowl. I knew it was a lie as soon as he made the promise like every campaign promise he made during the 2007 election. I can think of many other major thoroughfares in this city that are in much greater need of improvement. Emerson Avenue on the City's east side is full of potholes, for example, and crumbling at the seams.

The NFL Players Association is now calling for a boycott of Indianapolis downtown hotels, which it claims are not negotiating in good faith with its workers concerning the formation of a union. Yes, that would be that same corrupt service workers union that financed Obama's right to political power. Isn't it time the people rise up and tell the NFL where to go? These are the highest paid workers in this country thanks to massive public subsidies and an exemption from the federal anti-trust laws granted to their owners. How about repealing that exemption as part of the financial reform package before Congress and barring the use of tax-exempt bonds for sports facilities? Wouldn't these players like it if there team owners had to play on a level playing field with every other business in this country. I noticed that the three hotels targeted by the union, the Westin, Hyatt and Sheraton, have not received the huge public subsidies some other downtown hotels have received such as the new J.W. Marriott and its sister hotel next to the Westin.

I wish that we could find a good economic analyst who would keep a running tab on the other side of the ledger of just how much hosting Super Bowl 2012 winds up costing taxpayers. That would include an analysis of all the time and money being spent by public safety in preparation for the event instead of fighting out-of-control crime in this city. I hear that the NFL basically compelled downtown hotels to allow it to broker all of their rooms during the super bowl week. The broker's fee being charged to these hotels will cut deeply into their profits. I've never seen a more greedy, self-serving group of people than the NFL and its players. Enough is enough. Also, the City has essentially been made a tax-free zone courtesy of our state legislature for the NFL to make sure it doesn't return any tax dollars to this community during the event. Other conventions and special events return tax dollars to our community, but we are forced to give those tax dollars to the billionaire sports team owners and their over-paid players.


Downtown Indy said...

I wonder what the proposal looked like that was submitted to request those federal dollars?

It's a 'transportation enhancement grant' but I don't see it enhancing transportation in any way. To the contrary, they intend to put a 'boardwalk' (their term) down the middle of the street.

Downtown Indy said...

Oh, and lest we forget, the 2012 Super Bowl is NOT a certainty. There's a good possibility of a lockout that year. There might not BE a Super Bowl in 2012.

cswitzer said...

This guy is not about to rise up and tell the NFL where to go.

Indy gets a very nice design on a rather drab and ignored street, the Feds fund most of it, and all locals have to do is put up with being excluded from the street for, what, one week - sounds like a no brainer to me. This is exactly the type of project the city should embrace and replicate.

And remember, for every person who won't patronize a business on a union boycott list there is a person who shops exclusively at businesses on the list.

artfuggins said...

I find your remarks about the union representing the hotel workers demeaning. You attempt to link them with your unbridled hatred of Obama is even worse. The employees work hard but have been treated badly. I say hurrah for the NFL players who are standing up for those in their community who make far less than they do. Other conventions are going to start boycotting those hotels which means that unless they sign an agreement with the union that Indy will lose some conventions.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Would you like explaining the abrupt resignation of SEIU's president recently, art?

Dignitary Protection Group, LLC said... what you're advocating is basic extortion?

B2 said...

In fact, the re-configured Georgia Street and the portion of Meridian that will be used for the Super Bowl Village will be free and accessible to the public, not walled off as you suggest.
You also mentioned Emerson Ave. It is undergoing extensive repairs from 38th north to 56th.

Downtown Indy said...

Picketing hotels has been a popular union sport for a long time.

I used to make frequent trips to San Francisco and SEIU had a regular schedule of hitting hotels on registration day each time there was a convention being held at their downtown Marriott.

What's interesting is that those folks don't use all that time they spend walking up and down the street to get a degree, learn a trade or look for a better job.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The part of Emerson I've travelled on recently runs south of I-70. In early discussions, the plan has been put forward to close down a significant portion of the downtown area that would act as a green zone for security purposes. Access to this area will be limited. Special accommodations will have to be made for businesses and their employees located in that area.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"Welcome to Rome, Mr. Nero."
"Fire? Oh, don't you worry about that little ol' fire!"
"Here, Mr.'s your fiddle. You go ahead and play while ..."

Concerned Taxpayer said...

The players are only boycotting the hotels that won't let them rape and plunder without causing a police report.

Blog Admin said...

I use Emerson a lot since I have a client on the east side of the city. That road is, as Gary puts it, falling apart. It hasn't changed much since I used that same road in high school, when I frequented the Emerson Theater. It's good to know Ballard has continued the tradition of previous administrations of neglecting the east side.

The abandoned homes in the area are also of great concern.

Diana Vice said...

Once again, Gary Welsh is making perfect sense. I'm so thankful you're back!

Downtown Indy said...

I suspect those NFL players are typically generous tippers. They probably require a lot of special service - room service, personal valet, parking valet, running errands, hookers (just kidding) and so on.

Just think, all those folks want to risk losing their tips on a 'big tip' weekend.

Oh, well.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It's funny that you mention that, Downtown Indy because I hear that the Colts' highest paid player expects everything for free wherever he goes because he supposedly is such an added benefit as a patron.

Citizen Kane said...

You might contact Peter Grossman, economics professor from Butler. After reading one of his columns in the Star several years ago, I sent him an e-mail asking what he would do (being nearly 100% certain what his answer would be) if one of his students submitted the Lucas Oil "study," commissioned by the Peterson administration, purporting to gauge the stadium's economic impact. He replied that he would hand it back to them and tell them to start over after explaining how to properly conduct such a study.

Here is an example of his columns(he mentions the stadium in passing in this one also):

Citizen Kane said...


Well, you are part of the problem; the fact that some of the money comes from federal government (who takes it from us by taxes or inflation) does not justify spending 12 million dollars on one block. And if you didn't know the transportation enhancement grant may only cover half of the cost of this project. Meanwhile, our transportation network continues to degrade.

Yes, you are correct, let's replicate silly projects that take money away from very necessary projects that continue to be delayed for years and sometimes decades.

Citizen Kane said...

Downtown Indy,

I have the same memory of hotels being picketed in San Francisco when I visited.

american patriot said...

A press release I got today says the Titans, along with the NFL and players union, will donate a whopping $400,000 to the Nashville flood relief efforts.

According to my research from, that is .00012% of the league's player salaries for 2009 ($3,379,678,881), or .032% of the Titan's 2009 salary.

.00012% equates to $1.78 for someone making the $7.25/hour minimum wage for a year at 40 hours a week.