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Who Wants to Write the Pacers a Reality Check?

The Indiana Pacers are sending their strongest signal yet that if the city of Indianapolis doesn’t come up with $15 million a year to take over the operational costs of Conseco Fieldhouse, they’ll leave and go to another city.

In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Pacers President Jim Morris said the team would look at “all of its options” if it can’t reach a  deal with the city within the next 30-40 days.

No offense to Pacers and their fans, but I don’t think you’re living in the same world as the rest of us.   The City of Indianapolis is dealing with economic challenges that are the result of a slow economy and property tax caps.  Throw in some infrastructure needs, public safety, parks and libraries and the fact the Pacers suck as a team and you might see how shelling out $15 million a year to a bad basketball team might not be a priority for the rest of us.

Now if you want to leave, I can respect that because you’ve  got a business to run.  Just leave that check for at least $50 million on the table before you go.  Under the terms of the agreement the Pacers would pay a penalty if they terminate their lease early which, depending on how you do the math, involves the Pacers leaving a nice bit of pocket change on the table.  At the very least that gets the city through the next three years with no main tenant.

Now if you decide to stay, let’s work something out.  If you want the city to pick up the $15 million operating tab of Conseco, then I’m sure you won’t mind giving up that $7-$9 million in non-Pacer revenue from events at the Fieldhouse.   In addition, since you’re no longer operating the facility, you can start paying rent;  say $1 million annually.  Now that means the city would still have to shell out some cash, but you can make up for that by turning over the operation of Conseco to a private management company.

It may not be the best deal in the world, but the Pacers need to understand they are not the be all end all of the city.  Now if the Pacers were the Bulldogs, that would be a different story.   But they’re not, just look at the way they played this season.

  • John Doe

    Get rid of the Pacers and stupid make-believe NBA “basketball” and give us an NHL team instead.

  • http://twitter.com/IndyStudent Matthew Stone

    We, the city, can't. However, the owners of the team or the NBA should. And if they can't, then thems the breaks of being in that business.

  • busrider

    “Get rid of the Pacers and stupid make-believe NBA “basketball” and give us an NHL team instead.”

    Ha! The city couldn't support an AHL or even a CHL team and Skodjt wants to move the USHL version of the Ice to Carmel. Good luck with that.

    However it is a perfect lead in to my point.

    At this time it may be most beneficial for all parties to let the Pacers leave and in a decade or so acquire another team. It worked for the NHL in Minnesota.

    Hockey in Minnesota = Basketball in Indiana. When the Stars packed up and moved to Dallas, there was much lamenting, “Minnesota without a professional hockey team, how will we ever survive?” Quite nicely, thank you very much.

    When the NHL decided to expand in '97 they awarded one of those slots to Minnesota. MN got a brand new team that worked hard to win fans and professional hockey was back in a big way. A decade later the Wild play in a packed arena night after night despite the fact that they've made it to post season play only twice.

    The current situation with the Pacers is very similar to the situation Minnesota faced with the Stars. The Stars ownership wanted a new stadium (as opposed to sharing the newly built Target Center with the NBA Timberwolves) and the city balked. The Pacers want the city to foot the operating costs of their stadium. There was a great deal of public animosity towards the Stars' ownership just as there is with the Simon's. It is doubtful that anything could have been done to change this – the Stars played for the Stanley Cup only two years before and even that didn't temper the public's ill will. The Pacers face the same PR nightmare, having a winning team may dampen some of the bad feelings but will never completely eliminate them.

    Wouldn't it be refreshing to start over with a new franchise that we could fully support? It would also afford us the opportunity to negotiate a deal that would be more beneficial to the city. It's doubtful that the NBA will expand but there always seems to be a team looking to move and who know what the NBA will look like in a decade?

    Which leads to another point. What will the expiration of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement mean in the short and long term? It is quite possible that there will be a lockout in 2011. Are we really willing to sign an agreement in light of this? Also, say that the league owners get what they want and franchise incomes are increased, the Pacers claim they are losing money, what guarantee do we have that that argument won't be irrelevant?

    Indianapolis has more pressing matters to address and this money needs to be used for those items. Not to prop up a dysfunctional sports team.

  • Jusitn Owens

    LOL only 40-50 times per year? Geez I hope you can you find 40-50 concerts per year to replace them with.

    Net loss Zero? Hardley, again would those people from the donut counties still spend that money in Marion County.

  • Jusitn Owens

    Wow. I've not heard anyone from the CIB say lets tax the donut counties to pay for Conseo. So as of right now no body outside of Marion County would be taxed extra. Infact if that were the case, then the state would have to get involved, as Marion country can't just levy taxes on other counties.

  • Jusitn Owens

    Well if you want to get involved with results on the field or court. The Pacers have 3 ABA championships, One NBA finals Appearance, a handful of Eastern Conference Championship appearances, and almost as many playoff births you can count on 2 hands.

    So for the 5 or so years the Colts have been really good, the Pacers have struggled. But before that….well the colts had that one really good year with Jim Harbaugh.

  • Think Again

    Busrider, you've got a point, with proper proportion dialed in.

    I don't think there' a single NHL team worth half what the Pacers are worth. I could be wrong, but the NHL, well…it isn't the NBA. An,d this city can't support an NHL team. Never.

    But in case anyone missed it this week, the Pacers gave us their answer to this ongoing mess: a giant middle finger to fans, in the former of keeping their current miserable coach. The decision was announced by no less than Big Bird.

    Herb: you're beloved in this city. GRAB HOLD OF YOUR TEAM. Shake the snot out of it. Tell Bird he is on his last leg. Crawl on your knees and beg Donnie Walsh to come back.

  • fairweatherfans

    honestly what kind of fair weather fans are you guys, the teams not doing well so im not going to cheer for them. Even a team like the lakers hasent had winning seasons every single year. all of you fans cry i dont want trouble makers on our team! well guess what they gave you youre damn wish! know were going through a rebuilding process and you guys dont give a shit becuase there not very good. when the pacers are good in a couple of years you guys are going to go jump on their dicks and say im such a big pacers fans blah bah. the only reason you guys like butler is becuase they are good not becuase you are a real fan and liked them before they were good. how about you grow some damn balls and cheer for the pacers even though there not that good. i bet most of you guys werent event colts fans till they were good becuase you jump on the band wagon when they become good.

  • JocelynOppenhuis

    I say keep the Pacers here and bring an NHL team, they can share Conseco Fieldhouse…it works in Chicago for the Blackhawks and the Bulls…it'll bring more money for the city and give more reason for people to come to the city.

  • Evanegenolf

    I honestly thing professional sports in this town have gone too far. I am not against sports, I think they are great. But it is ridiculous when we build billion dollar stadiums like lucas oil and we haven't even paid off RCA yet. It just burdens the taxes on the common people for greedy pricks like ursay. I believe that the city should give some benefits and incentives for teams, but not pay them anything or build them stadiums to “stay”. They should be like any other business; if you are losing money and can't pay bills, restructure or get out of town if you have too. And i do believe in what JocelynOppenhuis said that an NHL would very much help Indianapolis. Petterson was a fool for negotiating and doing that Ursay, what a crook.

  • John Howard

    Yeah, out of 265. Tiny number, that. And the Pacers gets free rent (OK, $1/year) and the consessions and parking.

    So we find the same or a smaller number of events to come in, collect revenue instead of giving it away, and we do just fine without the Pacers.

  • John Howard

    Can't believe I retyped 3 on '265' and STILL I hit the '2' key!

  • Patrica916

    Indiana is the dumbest city when it comes to money. They decided to close libriaries and schools down, but there willing to keep the stupid pacers. At least the Colts, won a game and deserved to stay here.