Lucas Oil Stadium to see $22 million in upgrades in 2022

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Lucas Oil Stadium is expected to see at least $22 million in upgrades in 2022, as part of an improvement plan written into contracts when the venue was first built.

The improvements will bring new, higher-definition video boards to the northwest and southeast corners of the bowl, along with new video-ribbon displays, an upgraded sound system, new carpet and furniture, and an area in the team’s locker room for female football personnel.

“That replacement [plan] is baked into the lease,” said Andy Mallon, executive director of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which owns and operates the venue. Mallon added most of the things being replaced are original to when the stadium opened in 2008.

The agreement between the CIB and the Indianapolis Colts signed in 2005 laid out plans to upgrade the video boards once they’d reached the end of their useful life, within 15 years of the venue opening. The first video board system, from national scoreboard supply firm Daktronics, cost about $11 million.

The CIB has a similar agreement with the Indiana Pacers, reached in 2019, that calls for a contribution of up to $120 million through 2034 for technology upgrades, which would include video boards and sound systems.

The Lucas Oil replacement project, which will take place mostly next spring and summer, is expected to cost about $22 million, with most of the funding coming from the CIB. The Colts will contribute an undisclosed amount toward the locker room modification.

“We already have female football staff working for us, but we don’t have much in the way of what we feel is a fair accommodation for female staff,” said Pete Ward, chief operating officer for the franchise. “So, we’re making those tweaks this coming off-season, and they’ll have their own space with lockers and shower areas.”

The new video boards and digital ribbons are projected to cost about $16 million, while new carpeting, furniture and wall coverings for the stadium’s 139 suites will cost about $4 million. The sound system changeover is anticipated to cost about $2 million.

The existing video boards are each 96 feet by 53 feet and their replacements will be the same size. But Ward said since the CIB is still seeking bids for the new boards, it’s not entirely clear what their screen resolution will be. Regardless, he said they will be “a significant improvement” on what’s already there, which were among the best in the NFL when the venue opened.

“When we opened the stadium back in 2008, we had some of the largest and higher-definition screens in the league—it was such a remarkable improvement over the RCA Dome,” he said. “But it’s been some 14 years since those were installed, and they’re still great but they’ve become obsolete, from a maintenance standpoint, at the very least.”

In recent years, other projects to modernize the stadium and fan experience have been completed, including the 2019 addition of Version 5G to the building. The Colts prior to this season also converted multiple spaces into bars and lounges catering to mobile sports bettors.

In addition to its projects at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Capital Improvement Board also is spending about $8 million for full carpet replacements at the Indiana Convention Center (a project delayed by the pandemic) and another $2 million to repair concrete at the Virginia Avenue Garage adjacent to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

In all, the CIB plans to spend about $51.6 million on capital projects in 2022—about $38.1 million more than in 2021. That also includes a $12 million contribution to the plaza planned for the area north of the fieldhouse.

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16 thoughts on “Lucas Oil Stadium to see $22 million in upgrades in 2022

  1. I’m surprised the monitors located around the concession areas and in the corridors are not being mentioned to be replaced. Those monitors are way too small and clearly outdated compared to the jumbo screens inside the stadium bowl.

    1. At yrs 20-25 the, “would consider a potential move to XYZ city”, arm twisting starts up by ownership?

  2. …Some of you need to wake up and realize that LOS is used for A LOT more than just Colts games. Colts games are the minority of events of what the building is used for.

    1. Joe A. – The Irsay bashers could not care less that the stadium is only used by the Colts less than 10 days a year, or the fact that the economic impact of those days in terms of hospitality payroll and tax revenues to the city would be sorely missed if the Colts went elsewhere. One only needs to look back to the “Naptown” days to see how Indianapolis was a dying city before it was transformed by sports (professional and collegiate).

    2. I certainly don’t intend to diminish the value of the Colts to Indianapolis, but it’s not just that the Colts play their games in LOS for next to nothing. They receive a large portion of the money generated by all those other events that happen there, they receive ALL of the money each year from the naming rights to the stadium, they receive the profit portion of all concession sales and they pay absolutely nothing toward the maintenance of the building. The Colts have one of the best stadium deals in all the NFL.

  3. Brent B. BINGO!!!!!! I have debated the very thing you just posted to family and friends and they just don’t get it.They don’t understand that every city is ran like a Fortune 500 company and if your city doesn’t have venues to create income then you’ll fall behind you peer cities. Just ask Louisville how bad they want a NBA team.The Derby alone only brings in so much and Louisville is constantly competing with Indy,Cincinnati,Nasville and other mid size cities. If it weren’t for their soccer team and college basketball,Louisville would be irrelevant like St Louise since the Rams left.Now there’s an empty stadium right downtown St Louise that tax payers drive by everyday. smh

    1. Independent economists have proven over and over that taxpayer funded stadiums are net losers. In fact, Indy’s deals with the Colts and Pacers are generally considered two of the worst. Now, does it make Indianapolis “feel” like a big city and provide a sense of community? Arguable. Does LOS facilitate hosting NCAA basketball and football events? Yes. But from a $ perspective, the deals are net losers for taxpayers.

  4. This seems very reasonable and warranted based on the age of the tech in LOS and the need for updated amenities. For those who argue that CIB or other public entities shouldn’t be involved, I would argue that every study I’ve seen, including the two linked above, have one fatal flaw. They always assume that without the sports team locals would spend much of that money on alternate entertainment. However, I can say from experience that isn’t typically the case. As a former season ticket holder, who spent thousands of dollars on tickets, parking, dining, etc. downtown I have certainly not maintained anywhere near the same level of local spending. Instead that money goes towards vacations with my family…flights, hotels, dining, and entertainment in other states. That being said, I do think there is a limit to what’s acceptable and understand why a city like Oakland let the Raiders walk rather than spending $1B on them.

  5. The bigger irritant to me is that many years ago as I understand it, the commissioner at the time, Pete Rozelle, brokered a deal with Congress that exempts the NFL from paying taxes! What other corporate entity gets a deal like that? I am pro-business but it seems very unfair to me.