Indianapolis Colts, city reach deal on new luxury suites

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The city's agency for operating major downtown sports venues will shoulder up to $2 million of the cost for new luxury suites and related improvements at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Members of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County voted 6-1 Monday afternoon to approve an agreement with the Indianapolis Colts that would add two new upper-level luxury suites and convert two food pantries into cooking kitchens.

The CIB, which owns the facility, will pay for the first $2 million in costs. That's expected to cover most if not all of the project. The Colts would pay any overages.

The lone vote of dissent on the nine-member board belonged to City-County Council President Maggie Lewis. There was one abstention and one absence.

"It's not against the Colts; I just needed more details," Lewis said.

The project is not expected to be complete until November, according to CIB officials. Lucas Oil Stadium currently has 140 suites.

At Monday's meeting, the CIB also approved the Colts' plan for two new digital "ribbon boards" in the stadium for advertising and other promotional uses. The Colts will cover the entire cost of the boards.

The suites expansion is part of a wider agreement related to the long-standing dispute over concession costs between the Colts and CIB. The deal approved Monday provides a formula to differentiate between expenses for preparation and sale of concessions during Colts and non-Colts events.

The Colts have agreed, in accordance with the new expense payment formula, to pay the CIB $70,000 to cover concession expenses from 2008 through the end of 2012.

The agreement also states that the CIB will exercise its right to extend its concession deal with Connecticut-based Centerplate Inc. to June 1, 2023, unless the Colts and CIB mutually agree otherwise.

The two sides also bridged a rift related to a recent increase in admissions taxes.

In January, the City-County Council approved increases to admissions taxes for events in major downtown sport venues, including Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts opposed the changes, which would raise the admissions tax from 6 percent to 10 percent. The Council also approved a hike in the county tax for rental cars.

The tax hikes are projected to generate $6.7 million for the city’s general fund this year. In the future, most of the money will flow to the CIB, which also owns and operates Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Indiana Convention Center. The board's budget relies primarily on hospitality taxes.

Board officials have said they need the extra revenue to cover future operating expenses, including building maintenance and upgrades.

As part of  the agreement Monday with the CIB, the Colts committed to collecting the admissions tax.

This story will be updated.


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  • documents
    How is the suite revenue allocated? If like everything else related to LOS then the Colts get all rev from games and 50% of revenue from non-Colts games. Those that benefit should pay; unfortunately, that doesn't apply for Colts. Also, why aren't the documents posted on the city or CIB website? The most recent documents on the CIB website include meeting minutes from Dec 12 (even though the CIB meets monthly), press releases (July 10), Budget (2012) and financial data (cal 2011). Is it too much to ask for this high-profile Board to properly maintain a website?
  • Sounds like I hit a nerve there Christopher.
    To which of the city employees or contractors that I mentioned do you belong? I never said that the subsidy for the Colts was a good thing. I merely wrote that we have much larger waste in our government to worry about instead of getting our panties in a wad over a relatively tiny amount that actually benefits our city to a small degree. Now please reinvent the English language again and insinuate something that I never wrote one more time.
  • Already?
    I get ponying up every 20 years or so, but they just built the stupid thing. If the colts didn't have enough of a vision to get it right the first time, let them pay for the updates.
  • Just Say No
    Here we go again raising taxes then giving it the Pacers & Colts in return for nothing and leaving the CIB/Taxpayers with losses and the team owners all the profits. Then repeat the cycle over again. Now they want to take this to a new level where we give IMS $100 million for a non taxpayer owned facility that has only a $85 million tax assessment value with no ownership rights or collateral beyond "Projected"tax revenue
  • It's Transparent The Public Is Being Robbed
    Scott D., how much of the $2 million is going to you? You sound like a paid shill for the Colts. So called "transparency" is not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to scrutiny of how public funds are being spent. When a robber holds you up at gun point, it is pretty obvious where your money is going, too, but one doesn't take much comfort in such knowledge. Also, it's wonderful you can pull a figure like $300 million out of your behind, speaking of transparency, but we need a bit more than for you to just throw out a big number. Those of us in the real world generally expect to see supporting facts when one cites a very large number when making a specific assertion. Finally, whether you wish to partake in the argument or not, this $2 million for luxury suites is nothing but corporate welfare and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars.
  • At least it's transparent.
    At least we know where this $2 million is going. Most of government's waste is hidden from us. The dozens of bad and reprimanded teachers who have been removed from teaching but according to their union contract can't be fired so they show up every day and sit in a room at IPS headquarters and get paid to read magazines and watch movies. The guy who's good friends with some of the city councilman and gets paid $10 million for a $2 million sidewalk repair contract. The many city offices like Code Enforcement, Surveyor, Treasurer, etc... that have 30 people working in an office that truly only requires 10 to get the job done but only 3 of those 30 ever do any real work anyway so we deal with a continuous backlog. This little, and I do mean little in the grand scheme of things, Colts deal is nothing. If we could get rid of the over $300 million of annual waste in city/county government then I might partake in an argument as to whether or not these sports subsidies are good or bad for the taxpayers.
    • What?
      You're ticked because Irsay said "This one's for you, Indy" after winning the Super Bowl? What would you have rather he said?
    • Michael
      Perhaps Michael wants us to revert back to Inda-No-Place?
    • Bad Investment
      Indyman, you realize your view of this "investment" in pro sports isn't share by any economist? All you're doing is moving discretionary spending from one part of the city to another. Then you have the crowding out effect and leakage, too long to explain here. Taxpayer subsidisies of billionaire sports owners of pro sports teams are a bad investment.
    • Michael, Does your business cause tens of thousands of fans to come downtown at least 9 times a year? Does your business provide tens of millions in direct spending to spur local businesses? Does your business provide millions in tax revenue, much of it from out of County and a lot from out of State? Does it provide mDoes it provide millions of dollars in free advertisement on a national stage? If the answer is yes, then I am betting the city would be willing to talk to you.
      • mm-hmm.
        Of course, the total costs are "unclear" at this time, because they are probably about $1 more than whatever the CIB will provide. But it sounds so much better to think that the Colts are paying a sizable proportion of the costs for something from which they will keep all the revenue.
      • thx mike
        dang you beat me to the punch!! :)
      • really?
        i continue to be amazed at how much this city continues to pony up for a billionaire who has always had a chokehold here with the threat of moving somewhere else...dont get it...i will never forgive him for standing up midfield when we won the superbowl declaring " this ones for you indianapolis" when he bullied us into an incredible debt just prior...trust me i love the stadium and colts so much...i just dont like feeling like we are all bowing down all the time to this...can someone correct me and clarify how much of the, i think, 700mm burden irsay took on? please correct me!!!
      • taxpayers help the colts...again & again
        This is so bogus. Taxpayers called upon to provide improvement to Lucas Oil so the Colts can benefit. Any governmental agency or taxpayers willing to subsidize my business?
        • Improvement
          Whatever it takes to keep this facility in the game of hosting

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