Pacers playing hardball with city on lease

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The Indiana Pacers have set a deadline of June 30 to get a deal worked out with the city’s Capital Improvement Board concerning the team’s request for $15 million annually to cover operating costs at Conseco Fieldhouse.

According to the lease signed in 1999, the Pacers have been responsible for covering the costs. A clause in the lease lets the organization renegotiate terms after 10 years. The team says it can't afford to continue covering the costs.

CIB President Ann Lathrop told IBJ last week that she remains confident CIB and Pacers officials will continue to work amicably to resolve the issue.

“It’s something we have been working on for some time, and continue to work on,” Lathrop said.

Pacers officials said it is important to get a deal ironed out by June 30 to coincide with the end of the franchise’s fiscal year.

Pacers President Jim Morris told IBJ earlier this year that the team lost $30 million during the last fiscal year and that this fiscal year also is shaping up to be a financial loser.


  • Never gonna make money
    When this was brought up almost a year ago, the Pacers said they had only made money 1 year out of the total time they had been in Indy. If they can't make money in the years they were in the playoffs, how do they ever expect to make a profit. I can do enough fancy juggling on my records to make it look like I am losing money every year.

    There aren't many cities out there that are bigger that don't already have a team. The problem now is that there are too many teams chasing too few dollars. New Orlean's team is struggling with attendance. I don't see the league expanding but actually contracting as there are multiple teams losing money. Memphis is struggling also and thats the only professional team in town for them.
  • NBA Return
    I don't buy that the NBA wouldn't return to Indianapolis. There are 30 teams in the league and Indy is the 34th largest MSA in the country, complete with a modern arena considered best in the country. That would theoretically put them on the short list of new/moved franchises.

    However, that's not to say that Indy wouldn't have to wait a decade or more for a new franchise. And they'd probably have to provide a sweetheart deal similar to what the Pacers are angling for right now.

    The Pacers DO have all the leverage. If Indy decides it needs an NBA franchise, it's in their best interest to keep the Pacers now. Whether Indy needs an NBA franchise is debatable.

    My guess is that Pacers will stay and we'll see the $15M Conseco operating cost split between the city and the Pacers. Where the split occurs is probably the sticking point right now, but I'd bet that the city will end up picking up well over than 50%.
  • Never Burn Bridges
    Jim, no one believes you.

    The Pacers and Colts have done very nicely in this "small market".

    You made a huge error by resorting to threats to leave Indianapolis. It has only pissed off all your remaining fans.
  • Insult to Injury
    The Pacers should hire Hayword get get paying customers and fire Jim Morris for alienating the entire community by trying to extort $150 million for a taxpayer bailout by threatening to leave town. ($15M x 10Yrs. remaining on city contract)
  • You're a fool...
    If you really think the NBA would come running in a year or two to put an expansion team in Indy if the Pacers leave. Your assertions that "our market is second to none, best sports city in America, best basketball fans, etc." are laughable. What exactly are you basing this on? Obviously not reality. Indy historically has been very poor at demonstrating anything more than bandwagon fans for professional sports teams. Both the Colts and Pacers have struggled mightily with attendance in different eras. The Pacers really only had strong attendance for a pretty limited portion of their time here. The Colts...we'll see how things are five or six years after Peyton retires. Our market is not that great. We are a small market with a very limited number of significant corporate headquarters to fill the expensive seats. How exactly would you say our market is second to none? Best sports city in America...certainly not based on attendance or demand for tickets over long periods of time through good and bad periods of performance for the team.

    The NBA has a much stronger interest in fielding a strong team in New York City than they do in whether or not a backwater like Indy has a team or not. Conseco Fieldhouse may be nice but it won't do us a lot of good if it's empty other than a concert or ice show once in awhile.

    Your statement that the Pacers aren't worth a dime is laughable. There are rich boys all across America always interested in having a toy like a pro sports team. They could get 150 million for the team without even needing to work for it. Probably well in excess of 200 million unless if they hit the panic button.
  • Really TADD?
    Indy will regain a team in less than a year-Our facility is second to none, as well as our market. Pacer's have absolutely NO leverage per their lease. All they are doing is creating a fuss because they have a clause that after year 10 they can ATTEMPT to renegotiate. The only leverage they have is the corrupt CIB board with Okenson who is Ballard's hired gun and Bob Grand who has basically caused a conflict of interest in representing both CIB and the Pacers; not to mention Ballard's left brain. All of the involved are cronies. The taxpayers and the city have all the leverage if someone representing us has the cahunas to stand up for us. The ball club isn't worth a dime, but the Fieldhouse is one of the best arenas in America, in the best sport's city in America, with the best basketball fans. Period. Have fun filling up Kansas City's empty Sprint stadium or getting people to sit through a 3 hour game in Las Vegas. Pacers have NO LEVERAGE.
    • What Jim Morris doesn't tell you...
      Of course, Jim Morris never mentions the enormous gain the Simon's have made on their investment when you look at the current worth of an NBA franchise vs. what they purchased it for. I'm not denying they may be losing money but you have to factor in the hundreds of millions they have gained on their initial investment too.

      The only workable long term solution is the NBA waking up and going more to the NFL model of no guaranteed contracts, a hard salary cap, marginal players not making that much money, etc. The NBA business model is not working paying players millions a year to sit the bench and the team can't even cut their contract loose.
    • Not true...
      As much as I hate the idea of paying the Pacers even more money to stay, they have better leverage than Indy does. Indy will almost certainly never get another NBA team if the Pacers leave. We aren't a big enough market for the NBA to come back. Now, the Pacers know there are ALWAYS at least a handful of cities that would be excited to bring an NBA team in and would be happy to give them a sweetheart lease similar to the Colts deal here.
      • Details Details Details
        rmer Mayor Bart Peterson, former CCC President Beurt SerVaas, former City Controller Robert Clifford and former water company CEO Jim Morris all should be holding their heads in shame at the white elephant with which they've stuck Indianapolis' residents. These decision-makers coaxed the Indianapolis City-County Council into approving a purchase of the Indianapolis Water Company in 2002 for$525 million from NiSource, or at least double what the utility was actually worth after NiSource sold off close to $100 million worth of assets after purchasing the utility for $288 million, including Miller Pipeline and SM&P. The City then borrowed heavily to pay for needed capital improvements, entered into a costly privatization agreement with Veolia and prohibited the water company from seeking a rate increase for five years after the purchase to ensure Peterson could make it through his 2007 re-election race without having to raise water rates. The City also assumed an obligation of NiSource's to pay healthy golden parachutes to the water company's executives of a little more than $20 million, $6 million of which was to be paid to Morris.

      • Political Gun For Hire
        Jim Morris was Chairman/CEO of the former IWC Resources/Indianapolis Water Company. Plenty of blame left for Peterson and Servaas.
        • Peterson
          That was your boy Bart who overpaid for the Water Company
          • Yikes
            It must be nice to be guarenteed a huge profit each and every year. Pro ballplayers, politicians, lawyers and doctors all fall into that catagory. Seems sad that the rest of society can't have that same deal. Fans are asked to be true and faithful to teams win or loose, but the team owners are only in it for the money and their loyality is what is in their pocket (bank account)
          • Truth
            Like the over price purchase of the Indianapolis Water company that has obligated taxpayers for billions of EPA unfunded mandates, while enriching many political buddies?
            • Because...
              The Pacers get to keep the revenue generated from all events - including non-Pacer events. So they should be able to handle the operating costs.
            • What do you know
              What backing do you have the Jim Morris is sleazy? Maybe you ought to see what he has done prior to his term with the Pacers.
              • So let's see
                the Pacers, who in the recent past have engaged in arena riots, downtown shootouts and lousy basketball want $15 million to leave.

                Yeah, so, uh right. And the downside is...?

                Hey, the Wigwam in Anderson is available. Don't let the door hit you in the arse.
              • Hers a idea
                The NCAA could sign a long term lease to hold events in the Conseco Fieldhouse, instead of a cash payment from taxpayers.

                The Simon's could purchase the Circle Center Mall bailing out the CIB as part of this General Growth deal.

                Jim Irsay should give up taxpayer subsidized operating expenses in return for not going to jail with Fred Glass.
              • Get Real
                What leverage do the Pacers have? One, nobody wants them and two, the penalty for moving the team is 100-150 million. If a billionaire mall operator can't make a profit in a business where he doesn't pay rent on the facility and gets all of the non basketball revenue from that facility then I want his account to do my taxes.
                • Be Profitable by Winning on the Court
                  It has to be much cheaper to hire the key Butler players and build a good Pacers team our community can support than the amounts they must be spending on Jim Morris and the other sleezy hired gun politicos looking for a taxpayer bailout.
                  • Get Real
                    Since when have the Simon's started giving free rent and paying operating costs for their retail mall tenants?

                    Do they think we are stupid?

                    Oh yeah, Fred Glass and Bart Peterson gave Jim Irsay that deal, so I guess we are that stupid.

                    Glass and Peterson should be in jail for that crime.
                  • Simons
                    I hope Ballard stands up to these bums and shows them the door. They put out a lousy product and expect us to flip the bill. The whole NBA is a joke. Also David Stern hates Indiana and is happy knowing that Seattle will soon get a team back.
                  • Let em go.
                    City can't afford this.
                  • Pacers Lease
                    On the other hand, why should a tenant pay the operating costs of the arena?
                    • Treat the Simon's like they treat their tenants
                      Page 16 Sec. 4-


                      Indy will get another team IF the Simon's can pull off selling that weak roster. The Pacer's aren't worth anything, so have fun. Indy would no doubt be able to attract another team with better management than what we currently have. Portland is a great example of when a small market team gets better management (Heck they even whiffed on a couple top draft picks but have made out great). We, the tax payers, shoud be able to fire these clowns and bring in a new tenant to the Fieldhouse. DO NOT GIVE THE PACERS $$$$.

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