Indiana politicians consider Super Bowl ticket offer

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The opportunity to buy Super Bowl tickets from the Indianapolis Colts forced some elected officials to make a tough decision.

And we’re not talking about ethics. Rather, the question was whether to shell out $800 per ticket, plus hotel costs and airfare.

Indianapolis City-County Councilor Jackie Nytes would prefer to spend her money on the symphony or theater, but the Democrat decided to suck it up and head to Miami so she could see what’s in store for her constituents when Indianapolis hosts the Super Bowl in 2012.

“I don’t have this kind of money to throw around,” Nytes said. “I’m making choices.”

Nytes will be one of several city councilors in attendance through a special offer from the Colts. The team, which plays in a largely taxpayer-funded stadium, set aside tickets for elected officials.

The tickets are priced at face value, but the general public can't score the seats for the same price. On the secondary market, Super Bowl tickets are selling from about $900 to $8,000 apiece.

Although the tickets aren't free, they are considered a lobbyist gift, at least in the state of Indiana. The team must report any tickets they sell to state legislators within seven days of the transaction. As of this morning, the team had not filed any reports with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission.

Members of Congress do not have to report Super Bowl tickets as a lobbyist gift.

IBJ talked to a smattering of congressmen, state legislators and city councilors about their Super Bowl plans. Some who attended the game in 2007 aren’t going this year, though they wish they could.

“It’s just a pretty expensive trip,” said Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton would like to be in Miami again this year, but the Republican has too many events going on in his home district, press secretary John Donnelly said. U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, who recently announced that he plans to retire because of his wife’s illness, also won’t be repeating the trip.

That might leave U.S. Rep. Mike Pence as the only member of the Indiana congressional delegation in Miami. The Republican from Columbus went to the Super Bowl in 2007, and this year he’s taking his son. “He only goes when the Colts are playing,” press secretary Daniel Son said.

Other congressmen said they weren't going, or weren't clear about their plans. Sen. Evan Bayh’s press secretary didn’t respond to an inquiry. This is the first year that U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat from Indianapolis who was elected in 2008 to a seat held by his grandmother, could take advantage of the Colts’ special offer himself. As of late Wednesday, Carson had not decided whether to go, spokeswoman Glendal Jones said.

Colts officials, who are already in Miami, could not be reached for more information. The Indianapolis Star has reported that the Colts received ticket requests from 32 legislators and four members of Congress, as well as 26 of the 29 city-county councilors. Republican City-County Council member Bob Cockrum does not expect to see nearly that many of his colleagues in the stands. Based on conversations at meetings this week, Cockrum said perhaps half the council members will be in attendance.

This year will be a second trip for Cockrum, who said, “It’s sort of the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Cockrum, who has four children, had to make some tough choices about how to use that second ticket. In 2007, he decided to take his middle son, who worked for a hotel and had access to a discounted room.

This year, Cockrum’s youngest son, who was miffed about being passed over three years ago, is taking the ticket.

The rare opportunity to attend one of the most-watched events in professional sports might be a perk of elected office, but Cockrum does not think it’s inappropriate.

“Anyplace I’ve ever worked, there have been perks,” he said. That includes free parking spaces and holiday turkeys, he said.

Gov. Mitch Daniels will be in Miami, but not just for fun. Daniels’ schedule includes some meetings about economic development and with the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. On Saturday, Daniels will host about 300 people at an Indiana Economic Development Corp. event in Coconut Grove.


  • and one more reason...
    ...not to continue the mindless support of greedy for-profit enterprises like professional football...the owners, players and politicians are the only ones making money off of this modern-day version of Roman gladiators, while us taxpayers have to pay for their 'Welfare for Millionaires' deal to pay for the riduculous, obscenity of a football stadium, when people are literally starving and homeless on the streets of our city...what an incredible waste of time, money and resources and one more example of tribalism at its worst! I guess this is what one can expect when living in the most superficial, narcissistic, un-conscious culture and society the world has ever known...Gawd Bliss 'Merka (and that's the jew gawd, not the jeebus gawd!)
  • Exemptions
    It's incredible

    Strangely, it's the legislative branch which creates exceptions for themselves: telemarketing? Political matters exempt. Spam? Exempt.

    As far as things such as tickets go, the attitude is, "well, we really didn't ask for them, but there's no point in letting them go to waste."

    Fancy new parking meters coming along. What would you want to bet those in some form of gov't, local or state, will have some special card in lieu of a credit card, which will give them a free spot.

    CH13 said something about, "send your questions, suggestions, concerns to ", "The meters are expected to be installed by the end of next month."

    It'll be justified by saying, "we listened" (but didn't make use of).

    Some how, some way, certain individuals are getting bennies. And we either elected them to those positions or we voted for someone who was responsible for putting them into that position.

  • Politicians over Season Ticket Holders
    Always nice to see where the Colts Managment Loyalty lies. Once again Season Ticket holders are overlooked for tickets that are suppose to be part of the lottery. We pay full price for meaningless preseason games, we pay full price for meaningless end of season games and this is the thanks we get. I believe my season tickets will be available next season for the next sucker. I will watch from my 60" HD at home next season and not pay $6/beer or $30 for parking or the $400/game for the ticket.
  • Redskins
    Evan's not a Colt's fan, heck he should not even be considered a Hoosier... he grew up and lives in Washington DC... he's a Redskins fan!!

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