Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday, Already?

The paper is bleating today about how the local (i.e., Downtown) economy will be "hurt" if the Pacers (I believe they claim to be a basketball team) depart...which they are threatening to do unless the City stops making them pay their own way for the use of Conseco Fieldhouse.

(Conseco, as locals know, was the firm run nearly into the ground by high-flying idiot alleged scamster discredited fiscal wizard Steve Hilbert; one of his "wise investments" was the purchase of naming rights when the city built a new basketball palace) .

Actually, the Pacers ownership is making regretful, oh-gee-sure-hope-we-don't-have-to noises, which is especially pitiful coming from multi-billionaire mall moguls. Y'know, I sure hope the City Gummint understands they didn't earn all that money by being actually wistful, but I doubt they do; unwilling to play real poker (for keepsies an' ever'thing), worried by surveys (that don't take into account the effect of higher taxes to support the [losing] team, or dropping such taxes if only they'd leave), the City will probably give in.

When is a basketball team like a mugger? When they're extracting money by means of threats. The differnce is, sports franchises do it in broad daylight, in public, where the victim could tell 'em No without having to draw on 'em-- and ought to. Just sayin'.


pdb said...

This farce recently played out in a smaller scale in my locale. In this case, the new millionaire owner of the local single-A baseball club pitifully went hat in hand to the mayor to beg for loans for a new 5500 seat stadium to replace the totally inadequate 5000 seat stadium that was falling apart, being 15 years old.

The council, in its wisdom, decided not to risk the 60 $40k salaries associated with the team and the local hot dog and popcorn vending industry, and solemnly, responsibly, signed onto the deal with loud and public declamations that Nothing Would Go Wrong, and Taxpayers Wouldn't Be Out A Cent.

Shockingly, a year later, the project was $20M in the hole and a year behind schedule. I think you would be equally shocked to discover that instead of calling the mark, foreclosing on the mess and selling the heap for $5M to someone to make it work, the city council solemnly, responsibly decided to reward failure and underwrite MORE loans for the park. This was done with a citizen's panel who could find nothing wrong with the idea.

Well, in a tribute to the noble history of private-public partnerships, the park is now built and the team is playing. Winston-Salem is the proud owner of the most expensive single-A ballfield in history. If they sell out every home game for the next 30 years, they just might break even! The team's logo also resembles a giant blue and white dildo. I am not kidding.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

What the fishwarp isn't telling you is how much we'd save in extra police overtime and general public nuisance if the Pacers went away. Show me the actual budget including unreimbursed city expenses incurred 42 times a year for their home games, and tell me we're actually losing all that money if they go away. It's hard to lose money if you don't have to spend it in the first place.

I have the same attitude about the Colts and the Stupor Bowl, FWIW.

Oh, and plus? I saw the other day where Simon Properties lost out on a bid to buy one of their competitors out for a cool couple of billion. Maybe they should repurpose a few million of that to pay their obligation to the city of Indianapolis. Herb Simon & Co have no business poor-mouthing the city; they're flush with cash. F'em if they can't take a joke.

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Or you could adopt the Canadian solution:

-spend 500 million (mainly public) dollars on a Toronto stadium and its nice retractable roof

-watch it go bankrupt in 9 years

-then sell it to a smart media entrepreneur for 25 million, including all the naming rights in creation.

Smart entrepreneurs make decisions; gubmints make mistakes.

Geodkyt said...

As I've said to elected officials beofre (and I are one), "If y'all were brilliant businessmen, YOU would be driving around in the paid-in-cash Lexus, en route to your paid-in-cash luxury vacation in the Bahamas. If THIS was such a winner, economically speaking, Mr. Robber Baron would be fighting to keep your paws out of it, so he could rake in ALL the profits. DO THE MATH."

Drang said...

If Seattle can tell the basketball thugs "Bye, bye", then so can Indianapolis.
Don't miss 'em, in fact, in many of us wish they'd taken the baseball and football thugs with 'em.

Blackwing1 said...

Minnesnowta is in the process of being mugged by the local feetball team, the Vikings. They're whining that the purpose-built domed stadium they've been playing is just too small, and doesn't have enough luxury boxes.

They claim that they'll get all hurt if the citizens don't promptly build them a new one.

Geodkyt's got it right...if there were any actual MONEY to be made by building a stadium, they'd bloody well be building it themselves, and putting that money in their pockets.

You know, outside of the sports-entertainment industry, I can think of one single business where you can get the government to rob the people to put up your factory. Tax incentives, yes (but that's simply promising the prospective business that you're not going to rob them as badly as you would otherwise).

Can I get the state to build my nice buggy-whip factory?

JC said...

Awwwww, c'mon doods (and doodettes). You're all missing the point! You've just GOT to have a neat-o groovy hitek light rail system to make the team, the downtown, and the whole damn STATE get up and boogie! Just lookit what we've got here in Houston, just a couple of billion dollar$ and it takes you from the football stadium at the loop to the baseball stadium downtowm.
But I don't know. Maybe it's more of a project for Shelbyville...

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Whenever someone tells me that Indianapolis couldn't possibly survive without the Colts and Pacers, I simply mention the fact that Columbus, Ohio seems to do just fine without pro teams.

People act like there was nothing to do around here before the Colts came in on the Mayflower. Bull. Most of the time they've been here, it's been 8 regular season games and out.

Next time Druggy Irsay wants a new football stadium, someone should point out the example of Jack Kent Cooke.

perlhaqr said...

Cake and f'n circuses.

Ken said...

I agree with you, Nathan, but Columbus has the state .gov and The Ohio State University.* In other words, it's not exactly Galt's Gulch. :-)


Gay_Cynic said...

Somehow, the Sonics left Seattle...and the world didn't end. Traffic got better, street crime diminished in the vicinity of the Arena, and aside from the sports fanatics...it's something of a relief they are gone.