NFL owners lobby in advance of big vote

Anthony Schoettle
May 20, 2008
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ATLANTA - The streets of Atlanta's Buckhead district were quiet late last night, but the atmosphere inside the Ritz-Carlton was like a New Year's Eve party.

The 32 NFL team owners met and mingled mostly behind closed doors, but the entourages spilled into the lobby and bar area as officials from Indianapolis, Houston and Phoenix made their final lobbying efforts to land the Super Bowl in 2012.

Local TV stations, meanwhile, did live shots just outside the hotel for their late-night news.

The Indianapolis contingent rehearsed its presentation one last time from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. A sub-committee of team owners met earlier yesterday and gave Indianapolis leaders feedback on the written portion of their bid.

Central Indiana Corporate Partnership President Mark Miles, who is leading the local contingent, said there would be few adjustments to today's presentation.

Local leaders outlined a number of Indianapolis' strengths in an executive summary released to the media early this morning.

One point not mentioned in the bid but nevertheless discussed yesterday by locals was the importance of the $10 million indoor connector linking the new Lucas Oil Stadium to the expanded Indiana Convention Center and nearby hotels. David Frick, Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority chairman, said the connector is critical to Indianapolis' landing the 2012 game.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and other owners arrived with little fanfare around 7 a.m. today for a group breakfast before meetings began at 8 a.m. Owners slipped in side and back doors out of site of most media members.

Owners are tackling several other issues during the meetings, including the possible expansion of team rosters from 80 to 86 players and a proposed rule to require players with long hair to either cut it or tuck it up under the helmet.

One of the most crucial issues owners will discuss is the collective bargaining agreement that governs teams' salary cap. The salary cap - which stands at $116 million for the 2008 season - is critical, Irsay said, because it has a big impact on how competitive small market teams can remain.

In addition to negotiating with players over how much money each side gets, owners are at odds with each other, with large-market teams wanting to keep more of their own revenue and small-market teams like the Colts arguing for more revenue sharing among all the teams to maintain a level playing field.

Late this morning, word leaked out that owners had voted to shorten the collective bargaining agreement with players by two years, ending the agreement after the 2010 season.

The full impact of the termination is not yet clear, but league officials said the deal was shortened because its terms penalize teams for investing in new stadiums and other revenue-producing businesses.

Owners also were displeased because the current agreement lacked a rookie pay structure and does not deal with teams' ability to withhold bonuses from players who do not perform to their contracts.

Watch www.IBJ.com for news about the bowl bid.


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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.