CIB set to release results of Pacers impact study

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A Chicago-based consulting firm on Monday afternoon will divulge the results of a study commissioned by Marion County's Capital Improvement Board to determine how much the Indiana Pacers contribute to the local economy.

The CIB has been negotiating for months with basketball team executives over who will pay $15 million in annual Conseco Fieldhouse operating expenses. And the results of the study could help the CIB justify payment to the Pacers.

A provision that allows the Pacers to break its lease after 10 years—if the franchise is losing money—is forcing the CIB to consider paying the expenses in order to keep the team in the city. Officials say the team lost $30 million in the 2008-09 season and are claiming “heavy losses” last season as well.

The findings of the study will “shed light on the potential costs and benefits of the scenarios under consideration” to keep the Pacers from leaving, the CIB said Monday morning in a statement announcing the completion of the study.

Hunden Strategic Partners will release the results at the monthly CIB meeting set for 3 p.m. in Room 102 of the Indiana Convention Center.

The consulting firm specializing in destination attractions is led by Rob Hunden, a former economic development official for the Indianapolis Bond Bank during the Goldsmith administration.

Hunden declined to discuss the findings of the study when reached by phone Monday morning.

CIB President Ann Lathrop could not be reached for comment.

If the CIB picks up the annual $15 million tab, the additional expense will add to the board’s already fragile financial condition.

Members spent much of 2009 grappling to overcome a projected $47 million deficit this year. The board has improved its financial health by making $26 million in cuts and by avoiding $25.5 million in debt-service reserve payments.

The not-for-profit now is on target to turn the budget deficit into a surplus—additional money that could be used in negotiations with the Pacers.

Overall, the downtown sports, tourism and convention industries are estimated to generate $3 billion annually, according to the CIB.


  • Better off without
    Fairly recent post by the Urbanophile talked about how the Sprint Center in KC is cutting a $1.8m check to the city and it doing very well without an anchor tenant. Fewer dates by a (money losing) anchor tenant means more flexibility to bring in other, lucrative shows. I'm firmly in the camp of Screw Them.

    http://www.urbanophile.com/category/cities/kansas-city/ (you'll need to scroll down to find the KC discussion)
  • Silly
    Must have hit a nerve at the Pacers PR department.

    The mommy doesn't love me anymore argument doesn't work with my kids or for the Pacers. They are responsible for their own actions. If you can't make a profit on $100 million in revenue with a rent free sports arena than it's your own fault.
  • Disappointed
    I have only lived in Indy for a few years. I love going to all the events downtown and have been following the news closely. First of all I am disappointed in the city for not supporting its business and anything that builds its economy and brings jobs. Secondly, Pacers, as everyone keeps saying, has 41 games a year. That means that is 41 times a year 8,000-16,000 people are downtown spending money in Indianapolis.Third, if the Pacers leave, there is going to be a convention center downtown that the CIB will have to take over and maintain anyways as to not have an empty unused building downtown, so they may as well come up with an agreement with the Pacers. And fourth, I'm scared to see how this city is going to treat the Colts when their main players retire and aren't top dogs like they are now. Are we going to chew on them and spit them out because of a few bad years and tell the CIB to bail out on financing Lucas Oil Stadium? In this economy we need to be supporting any business that brings jobs from the local grocery to an NBA franchise. I truly am disappointed at the lack of support from this city.
    • To Joyce-anyone who really doesn't understand
      41 fewer dates of events that LOSE money. It costs more to open and operate for a Pacers game than if we just kept it closed down for the night. The City has all the leverage in this, and they better not give us the BS argument that it brings in a ton of revenue because the FANS are the ones that pay for everything and the Pacers' management has squandered it all away via P-poor effectiveness and decision making; Simons and their henchmen Morris, Barnes and Thornberg and CO should be asking Larry Bird, Jamal Tinsley, J. Oneal, Marques Daniels for the $15mm, not the taxpayer. And would Paul Okeson please remove himself from all talks/discussions the 2 sides are having. Please get someone in there who has operated a legit, profitable business to represent us; not a bunch of government contractors who pay to play! (Lanthrop, Okeson, etc..)
    • Pacers Math Doesnt Work
      Forbes says the team had $100 million in revenue and pays $65 million in player salaries.

      And they are complaining that they cant afford $15 million?????
    • I can see the future
      I predice that the study will show that the Pacers contribute 50-60 million to the cities economy and that we couldn't dare afford to lose them and that we should be grateful to the Simons and should throw more money at them as if they didn't have enough.
    • Buy Low, Don't leave any money on the table for taxpayers
      Perhaps better management could fill Conseco with even more events and the profits would go to taxpayers, not just expenses.

      Heck, the taxpayers have a right of refusal to buy the Pacers if they break the lease.

      The Mayor should be prepared to collect the penalties for breaking the lease and enforce the right to purchase the team for the pennies on the dollar Jim Morris says its worth as a money losing money pit.

      They should be happy we took the team off their hands for a handsome price of $1

    • CIB Report
      For those of you who don't get it, Conseco Fieldhouse will have 41 fewer dates if the Pacers leave. And it will still have to be maintained.
      • Fool me twice? Whos the bigger fool?
        Why would the CIB need to spend money on such a report unless they are trying to support breaking the Pacers lease 10 years early and having taxpayers pick up an extra $150 million in Pacers expenses to match the criminally one sided arrangement with the Colts?

        They should be working to bring the Colts agreement in line with the more fair Pacer agreement. Not the other way around.

        Hope the media takes everyone to task for such silliness.
      • Thanks Gary
        Why would CIB even think that hiring a firm with ties to Goldsmith wouldn't wreak of bias? It shows how incompetent and unproductive the CIB Board is.

        Also, why is Paul Okeson still involved in any of these sensitive negotiations between the Pacers and CIB; his firm Keystone Construction is partnerd with Venture Real Estate (Bales fleggling company) and CBRE to manage CIB facilities. Wouldn't it be great if the Fieldhouse was added to that list of properties to manage and Paul could steer things his team's way? Stinks of conflict of interest and insider dealing! I hope this is brought up ASAP.
      • Biased Report?
        Hunden's existence is based on offering advice to public entities like the CIB. Does anyone think they would offer an unbiased report. Let's see a study by someone who actually doesn't have a vested economic interest in touting the benefits of the Pacers to the public. How much did the CIB waste on this study? I thought they were broke.

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        1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

        2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

        3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

        4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

        5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.