Friday, February 20, 2015

Big Surprise: Ballard Wants Taxpayer-Financed Stadium Downtown For Indy Eleven

It's not like this comes as a surprise given everyone's knowledge in the City-County Building that Mayor Greg Ballard has been bought and paid for several times over by the shadowy Turkish immigrant demanding public funding for an $83 million soccer stadium for his Indy Eleven minor league soccer team. WISH-TV, which airs the Indy Eleven's games, had the puff ball interview of the dunce in chief by Eric Halvorson in which Ballard unquestionably supports a new outdoor stadium with multiple uses, which must be located downtown.
“Probably an outdoor stadium that has multiple uses. We want to play multiple sports in it. I think that’s important. I think it should be downtown and then we’ll go from there,” said Ballard . . . 
During an interview in his conference room, Mayor Ballard recalled the team’s box office success in 2014. They “did sell out every game, last year,” he said. “I went to a couple. Let me tell you, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for this. This is kind of like pent-up demand.” 
Critics worry that the team won’t be able to fill the 18,500 seats in the new building. Then, they fear other taxpayers will be forced to pay for a sport they don’t watch. Ballard doesn’t seem worried about that. “Millennials are all there,” he said. They grew up playing the game. “So the demographics are only going to get better for any soccer team in Indianapolis,” said Ballard. 
Ballard also compared the stadium concept to the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium. He said we didn’t want to use that building just “ten times a year. You want to use it much more than that.” The same is true of the stadium desired by the Indy Eleven. “We need to make sure it has lots of uses to it,” Ballard said. 
The Mayor even sees a parallel to the era when Indianapolis claimed the title of “Amateur Sports Capitol of the World.” The investments Indianapolis made in the 1970s and 1980s “worked out pretty well for us.”
Um, the investments in sports made in the 70s and 80s (i.e., Market Square Arena, RCA Dome, RCA Tennis Center and Pan Am Ice Skating Center) have all been torn down. Carroll Stadium where the Indy Eleven currently plays was built just for the Pan Am Games and allowed to fall into bad disrepair just like the Natatorium.

Too bad WISH-TV doesn't have the video online. Ballard was slurring his words during the interview like he was drunk or drugged or had just returned from the dentist. Has anyone ever seen a reporter in this town sit down and conduct a serious interview with Ballard during his two terms as mayor where he is actually asked some tough questions besides the occasional, rare unscripted on-the-run interview where Ballard is obviously dodging a reporter trying to ask tough questions and flies off the handle with the drop of a pin?

UPDATE: Someone at WISH-TV must be reading this blog. There's now a small snippet of the interview online now.


Anonymous said...

Until Ballard can explain The Regional Operations Center deal, and why he refused to provide the documents or why Straub shredding the documents and explain the benefit of the Cricket field and the benefit of Bike Lanes in Broad Ripple....well, he needs to leave the taxPAYERS alone. He does not appear to be a good steward of our tax money.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced Ballard is not all there and that he may have some personality disorders along with his low aptitude for ordered thinking. He has trouble constructing a cohesive sentence and he stutters and slurs because he does not understand the arguments and comments he puts forth even as he is talking.

The damage he has done to the City and the Office of Mayor have yet to be fully understood by the people. And we have a culpable Democrat and Republican Council who enabled him many times along the way.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to all of the shady dealings the IBJ reported about on the awarding of the federal abandoned housing dollars to Ozdemir by Ballard'a administration?

Anonymous said...

I am still wondering about this angle on the Taxpayer-Financed Soccer Stadium. Does anyone have any insight?

........I suspect Ozdemir's construction firm will be building/managing construction on this new arena for an unproven team with trumped up fan support. Perhaps he would like to build it at cost and forego any/all profits he intends to line his and his political cronies pockets with. Rightfully so, there has been a great deal of attention given to the unrealistic projections, has anyone done any research on what the stadium would cost in an open bid situation? It would seem to me that this phase of the project would be the immediate payoff to Ozdemir. Just curious.....but believe it is highly likely that he will profit at all phases of the project with very little/no downside risk to Ozdemir personally. If the city is basically lending him money on unrealistic projections, it seems prudent for the major benefactor to back the project with his personal guarantee/assets if he feels so strongly that it will be a success.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Ask Joe Hogsett, Anon. 6:58. The U.S. Attorney's Office under him ignored all kinds of evidence of criminal wrongdoing by this administration. Joe announces he wants to be mayor. Greg announces he's not running for mayor. And the Republicans decide to run an unknown guy who only recently moved to Indianapolis and obviously isn't planning to seriously compete to win the race. Connect the dots. It's just another rigged mayor's race like so many of our past mayor's races have been.

Anonymous said...

Ballard slurs his words even when he's sober. Elocution isn't one of his finer skills.

Anonymous said...

Outdoor Stadium? Multiple Uses? Need to cash in on and attract U.S fans to wildly popular international sports? Wait-isnt that what the World Sports Complex built on the East side was all about? Soccer, Rugby, Hurling and cross your fingers, possibly one cricket tournament will be played there. Why not Indy 11 Soccer games? If all the dollars already invested in the ROC, Pennsy Trail and the World Sports Park were to spark economic development on the east side, then help keep the momentum going, Mr. Mayor. Downtown doesn't need another new stadium and you've already squandered enough of our tax dollars on the World Sports Park.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, more and more it seems a waste of time for the public to comment on upcoming proposals around the city. It seems as though the CCC and local leadership has a "Let them eat cake" attitude of superiority.

A proposal to pay for yet another sports complex is outrageous. We have enough we have paid for that it is time to start using them to the fullest.

Flogger said...

Even if the funny Math of a self supporting stadium does not work - and it will not, the fall back position is the Sucker Stadium will be an investment. The local Mega-Media has their templates on what to report. It is at this point "Readers or Writers" (I refuse to use the Word Reporters)will regurgitate the scrip they have been presented with.

The Readers and Writers in our local Mega-Media will not ask the obvious question. If this Stadium has sound financial numbers then why not get a construction loan from some big Wall Street Financial Institution??

Anonymous said...

I posted this comment to the WISH-TV soccer stadium piece and it was deleted or never approved by the moderaters:

Sports stadiums are nothing more that a transfer of taxpayer funds to team owners, athletes and bondholders. There is plenty of well-researched economic studies showing very little benefit to taxpayers of publicly-funded sport stadiums. Stadiums are an economic boondoggle that yield little in the way of jobs or revenue. In many cases, debt servicing on stadium loans has a negative impact on the community requiring cash-strapped municipalities to cut services in order to pay down debt owed to bondholders. 

Hoosier taxpayers are still paying over $5 million a year for debt service on the old RCA Dome which was torn down years ago and originally built for $75 million. That debt is scheduled to be retired in 2021, unless a new round of bonds are issued. When Lucas Oil Stadium was completed, "unforeseen" maintenance and operating expenses were so far out of line with initial estimates that the loan effectively began to negatively amortize since it required more money from the taxpayer piggie bank than what was originally anticipated.

If team owners and team politicians want stadiums, let the owners shoulder the risk and build the stadiums with their own funds. NASCAR doesn't use public funds for their private tracks, the exception was the absurd taxpayer bailout of the IMS and the Hulman family finances. 

WISH-TV should also divulge their financial interest in the Indy Eleven. WISH-TV broadcasts Indy Eleven games and derives revenue from ads aired during those games. Read criticisms from SB Nation about Jim Irsay, taxpayer-funded Lucas Oil Stadium expenditures and a complicit local Indy media:

Anonymous said...

Ballard is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the moneyed interests of the downtown mafia. He's given the charge to sell their projects and they provide him with the talking points. If you want to make it interesting corner him after a public meeting, ask him questions and watch him squirm. There's a reason when he speaks in public his keepers never put in a situation where he might have to take questions or comments while in the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:08, I think you're on to something. This a big part of why Ozdemir is pushing the stadium so hard. Think "developer fees" of 25% or more on construction costs. I bet he not only wants to build the stadium, he wants to build a whole community around it... think condos, apartments, mixed use, etc, all of which will no doubt have more public subsidies.

Of course there's the procurement method of choice (prior to P3, anyways) where the city "leaders" hand pick all the engineers, architects, and a construction management firm. Many pieces of actual construction work are then bid out but intentionally packaged so that only certain favored local contractors are qualified to bid. Want to know who these players are? Look through the campaign donor logs for Ballard and Peterson.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea....Isn't the Indianapolis Motor Speedway now receiving taxpayer funding? Get IMS to move the inside golf course holes to the Coke lot and have the stupid soccer games inside the track. They could have 2 for 1's during race season. With all that enthusiasm for soccer it may enhance race attendance. Whopeee!