A number of people have been asking me what I think about the deal reached between the Indiana Pacers and the Capital Improvement Board . To be honest, I have mixed feelings. Actually, let me be more than honest, I wish it wasn’t necessary.
I wish the City and CIB did not have to take over the operational costs of Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the next 10-13 years, as well as make structural improvements to the total tune of $160 million. I wish the city got to keep the non-Pacers revenue generated at Bankers Life.
With all that said though, I think this probably the best deal under the circumstances. It would be easy to tell the Pacers to go pound sand and move to Seattle. Unfortunately, that won’t do the local economy any good.
According to an analysis by the IU Public Policy Institute, we can expect the Pacers to generate about $470 million in economic activity over the 10-year period, which I will admit is not bad for a $160 million investment. Also that $470 million in economic activity helps pay for the police, fire and infrastructure that is badly needed. Most importantly, it helps pay off the bonds that financed Bankers Life. An empty fieldhouse does no one any good.
Normally that ’should be enough to seal the deal, but it was my friends who are downtown merchants who are directly impacted by the Pacers. One took a major hit in his bottom line during the NBA lockout. Another, not so much, but when the Pacers play at home he sees the difference in his receipts to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Those are the reasons I begrudgingly support this deal.
I wish Indy didn’t have to do it, but this is the universe we live in. And I would rather live in a universe where it’s easier for my friends to make a living than one that isn’t.