Saturday, November 24, 2012

Council President Says Pacers Have Bipartisan Support For More Subsidies

You have to wonder how many members of the Indianapolis City-County Council have been bribed by billionaire Herb Simon when they would be willing to discuss offering even more public subsidies to his Indiana Pacers at a time when the City lacks sufficient revenues to fund basic city services. City-County Council President Maggie Lewis tells the IBJ that the Pacers have "bipartisan support" for more taxpayer help. "This is not a party issue, said Lewis. "All the councilors understand the financial benefits of having professional sports teams in this city." Yeah, there are financial benefits. It's just that the financial benefits the politicians fear losing most are the ones going directly into their pockets in consideration for supporting more subsidies for Simon's Pacers. Any councilor who supports more subsidies for the Pacers now should be tarred and feathered after receiving a public lashing.

We're suppose to ignore the fact that the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement is netting Simon's team an additional $20 million in shared league revenue. Simon officials claim they're still losing as much as $30 million annually on the franchise, even with the higher revenues. The claim of losses is a big fat lie that the CIB's leadership continues to feed to the public. Simon won't open up his audited financial statements for the Pacers and its ancillary business, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, to the public and for good reason. They would prove that he's lying about losing money. The Simons didn't become billionaires operating businesses that operate at such losses year after year. They always unload non-producing businesses and properties. Anyone who has ever done business with them knows that to be the case.

According to the IBJ, the NBA expects the Pacers to put their additional shared league revenues into higher player salaries, not the taxpayer-built Fieldhouse they get to use rent-free and operate as their a profit center for their own business. The Pacers get to keep revenues the non-game events hosted at the Fieldhouse generate in addition to game events, but the franchise won't give up that information either other than to assure us that it's not enough to cover expenses for the venue. For the past three years, taxpayers have been forced to pay $10 million a year to cover those operating costs, along with an additional $3.5 million the Pacers spent on a new digital scoreboard and ribbon board that offer additional revenue-generating opportunities from advertising that are retained by the team. It's time for this city to bid farewell to the Indiana Pacers.


Unigov said...

Remember, the Marion County cable TV contracts involved massive bribery, as documented in Rex Early's book. When the government subsidizes some inane activity, the media's first question should be, 'cui bono' ? The Star never bothers to ask of course.

Unknown said...

Again, I complain of the useless republicans on the council.