Monday, February 11, 2013

Feeding Strays: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wants To Go On The Dole

     Yep: the 500-mile Speedway, a venerable private-enterprise success, is asking for public funds to light the place up for night racing -- oh, and add more ramps and accessibility features, the same thing the corner store has had to do without asking for a handout.

     The local basketball and football teams are already on public assistance; neither the Colts nor the pacers would be viable efforts without a lot of freebies, including not only venues free for nothing but a huge share of all of the revenue from them, not merely their own ticket sales.

     It's like feeding stray cats: the longer you do it, the more show up.  Around here, most of the stray-feeders also get the feral critters spayed or neutered -- but it's hard to see how that scales up to professional sports.

     When socialism comes to the Midwest, it's wearing team colors and waving a checkered, talking nonsense about "prestige" and "civic pride."  --'Cos a bunch of guys not from here, any one of which would bail without a backward glance when offered a better deal, somehow reflects glory onto me?  Sports success: can't eat it, smoke it, date it or even take it to the bank: sports teams and their various venues are generally revenue-neutral or worse, actual money-losers for the host community.  The Speedway was a rare exception and if it can't pay its own way now, they need to be looking at some other use for that big old patch of land, not sniffing around for taxpayer-funded handouts with the other vagrants.

13 comments:

Jess said...

It's madness and they're starting early. I find youngsters - with parents - panhandling on street corners, with handmade signs, coffee cans and uniforms.

There's a wide variety, including little league, soccer and cheerleaders; all hoping to beg enough for their particular reason.

Anonymous said...

Got to have a circus to distract the masses from what is going on. The ancients knew what they were doing in Rome, way back then. makes one wonder what is next. Feeding failed players and such to wild animals. ATB. DAVE S.

Robin said...

" It's like feeding stray cats: the longer you do it, the more show up. Around here, most of the stray-feeders also get the feral critters spayed or neutered -- but it's hard to see how that scales up to professional sports."

I think with just a little imagination we could see how it scales up ...

perlhaqr said...

Neuter the team owner if he gets a handout?

Will Brown said...

Roberta,

Not arguing for tax hand-outs here, but to the extent the "upgrades" to the existing facilities are the result of legislative mandate there is a reasonable argument that public funds should be made available to effect the mandated changes. As you noted, the place was financially successful for decades without the alterations; why should the owners be the only ones on the hook to satisfy some local/federal impulse of do-gooderism?

A complex issue, though living in the shadow of Mark Cubans Dallas Mavericks franchise I have to confess more than a little temptation for perlhaqr's idea. :)

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Not just no, but heck no.

Old NFO said...

They brought their own demise on themselves with the 'battles' over who would control Indy Car. They are now swinging the in the wind, hoist on their own petard! Let em swing!!!

James Sullivan said...

Eddie Rickenbacher rolls over.

Roberta X said...

Will Brown: so, why should my taxes help the Speedway with ADA compliance, and not the small motel that had to fill in their pool? Why the Speedway and not the corner store?

Will Brown said...

Why not indeed Roberta.

To re-iterate, I am not arguing for tax monies being given to private business entities per se. I do, however, think it worthwhile to consider requiring legislators to append tax dollars in the legislative bill to accomplish the changes being imposed upon those same businesses (and have no idea if such is actually the case in the present instance; mine is a generic observation of government) (Old NFO almost certainly has greater knowledge of the circumstances than I, as does yourself for issues of local importance). Your post led me to believe this might be the case for the Indy 500 race track so the counter view seemed appropriate.

If I failed to make the distinction clear, then my bad.

Roberta X said...

I'd still argue against it, Will, as that just moves the burden of an unchosen obligation from the business-owner's back to yours and mine.

YMMV.

Ken said...

What Old NFO said. Wonder if Tony George is still happy he arranged matters so that nothing would be more important in open-wheel US racing than the Indy 500. Now it's the most important afterthought in the afterthought. Contrast to the France family, who focused on building NASCAR as a whole.

Me? I prefer drag racing.

Frank W. James said...

As a long time Indy 500 fan I'm still opposed to this request.

If they hadn't of blown all that money screwing the place up for F1, they would have plenty of financial resources available to affect these upgrades.

They blew a bunch of money on BAD business decisions and like GM and Chrysler they now want help from the public treasury to compensate for them.

Rots of Ruck...

All The Best,
Frank W. James