Wednesday, June 9, 2010

iPOPA on Pacers's Bailout

I was invited to appear on Fox 59's first "Faceoff" segment, during which two members of the community debate "issues of the day." The topic for myself and NUVO contributor (and talented writer) Andrew Roberts was whether the City should absorb the $15-$18 million cost of operating Conseco, thereby "bailing out" the Pacers. Here's my statement, which is a bit more detailed than what any 2-minute video can allow:

I don't want the Pacers to leave. But the City should not give an extra dime to millionaire ballplayers and billionaire owners when it's on pace to set a homicide record, can't pay for basic services like libraries and transportation, and has to use deficit spending, back-door tax hikes for sidewalks and roads.

The Pacers have not even shown us their books, so we have no idea how leanly they operate. All we know is they pay more in player salaries than one-third of the teams, and the NBA will almost certainly adopt NFL-style revenue sharing when it creates a new collective bargaining agreement at the end of 2011. How foolish will we look opening up the public coffers when bad management put the Pacers in the hole via low attendance and costs, and we can see the smoke from the money train pulling into the Pacers' station?

Most observers do not believe the Pacers could find a better deal in any other small-market city, they would have to pay between $50 and $150 million to move, and every objective study shows that when a team relocates, the psychological loss is real, but the economic one isn't. You can't even call this proposal a "bailout" because that connotes an opportunity to recover the dollars government provided. So far, all the Pacers have said publicly is that the taxpayers should eat a cost the Pacers agreed to cover. Sorry, but we're stuffed right now.

Here's the video segment:



Blog Admin said...

Good job, Chris. That was probably the sixth or seventh time, in this year (or longer) bailout discussion, that someone in mainstream media mentioned that the Pacers will have to pay between $50 and $150 million just to leave the city.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes, excellently written. Whatever did Roberts say, in opposition?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Chris, I think you knocked him out about a minute into that round.

I liked how Roberts said that this is a chance for the Mayor to take a hard line. A really hard line would be to say that the Simons can't move the team and if they sell the team to someone else, they'll pay the $142 million penalty. Instead the City wants to start negotiations by giving away their strongest weapons. There is no reason for us to even be at the negotiating table for another 5 years.

Jon E. Easter said...

As I've said all along, there is no negotiation out for the Pacers here. With OKC gone off the table, there are no potential NBA markets without teams that remotely look palatable. The Pacers' best chance to succeed economically remains here in Indianapolis. This is totally different than an NFL negotiation where there might actually be greener pastures in LA or another city.

So, the "we have to move" argument is really a moot point. I call them on their bluff.

Indiana Appraiser said...

Great article and can you really believe this? Closing libraries and schools while handing over tax dollars to the wealthiest family in the state- in the name of entertainment?

I am a republican, but the mayors corporate bailout hypocrisy has completely clouded any reasonable judgment he was supposed to have.

I found a great symbolic Pacers Bailout sticker for my car: