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Lucas Oil Stadium

Aerial View
Copyright 2008 by Aerial Views Publishing

  Venue Resources  
Address 500 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Phone (317) 262-8600
Official Website
Seating Weather
Newspaper
Satellite View
Colts Gear
  Calendar / Tickets  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Indianapolis

  The Facility  
Date Opened August 16, 2008
Ownership
(Management)
Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority
(Capital Improvement Board)
Surface FieldTurf
Cost of Construction $720 million
Stadium Financing A 1 percent tax on prepared food in nine of the 10 counties that surround Indianapolis is being used. Marion County will add an additional 1 percent tax to the original 1 percent it already pays for the RCA Dome.
Naming Rights Lucas Oil Products, $122 million over 20 years
Architect HKS, Inc.
  Other Facts  
Tenants Indianapolis Colts
(NFL) (2008-Present)
Population Base 1,500,000
On Site Parking 3,000
Nearest Airport Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
Retired Numbers #19 John Unitas
#22 Buddy Young
#24 Lenny Moore
#70 Art Donovan
#77 Jim Parker
#82 Raymond Berry
#89 Gino Marchetti

Championships 1st

XLI
2007

  Seating  
Capacity 63,000
Average Ticket $81.13
(2008)
Fan Cost Index (FCI) $435.52
(2008)
The Team Marketing Report FCI includes: four average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two game programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.
Luxury Suites 137 Suites
Club Seats 7,100
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1993 407,928 84% 4%
1994 396,462 82% -2.8%
1995 440,613 91% 11.1%
1996 438,026 90% -0.6%
1997 451,455 93% 3.1%
1998 440,930 91% -2%
1999 453,270 94% 2.8%
2000 454,319 101.2% 0.2%

2001 2002 2003 2004
450,746 453,357 451,531 456,791

2005 2006 2007 2008
457,373 457,154 458,437 531,026

2009 2010 2011 2012
532,398 535,802 518,627 521,518

1993-2007 Attendance figures are for the RCA Dome.

Sources: Mediaventures

Lucas Oil Stadium

City quietly studying designs for Colts stadium
By John Fritze
July 23, 2004
 

City officials are reviewing designs for a new Indianapolis Colts stadium drafted by three architectural firms hired earlier this year to help determine whether a new Downtown arena is feasible.

Computer designs, 3-D models and cost estimates for a 70,000-seat stadium have been in the works for months, but officials in Mayor Bart Peterson's administration refused to make the designs public.

The Capital Improvement Board, the city body overseeing the RCA Dome, requested the designs in March and paid three firms $35,000 each for their work -- even as city officials insist they have not decided whether to replace the 20-year-old dome.

"We were really looking to get ideas and feedback as part of the feasibility assessment," said Fred Glass, president of the quasi-governmental board and one of the city's top negotiators in talks with the Colts.

"It truly is an assessment piece, not an implementation piece."

Talk of a new stadium, kept under wraps for months by city and Colts officials, is now directly linked to developing plans to expand the Indiana Convention Center -- a necessary move, the city has said, to stay competitive in the convention industry.

In a March 25 letter, the board asked four firms to submit design proposals by May. The letter asked those firms to keep several assumptions in mind, such as:

• A new stadium would have a capacity of 63,000 -- adjustable to up to 70,000 -- with 120 suites and 7,500 club seats. That compares with the RCA Dome's 57,890 seats and 104 suites.

• The arena would have a fixed roof instead of a retractable roof -- like the kind in use at Houston's Reliant Stadium. The letter, however, suggests designers should provide a retractable-roof alternative.

• The building would be located on 25 acres south of the Indiana Convention Center, which could be expanded by 200,000 to 275,000 square feet into an area now occupied by the RCA Dome.

Three firms responded to the letter: Ellerbe Becket, of Kansas City, Mo., which designed the Arizona Diamondbacks' Bank One Ballpark; HOK Sport, also of Kansas City, which designed Reliant Stadium; and Dallas-based HKS Architects.

A fourth company, Kansas City-based HNTB Corp., which designed the original RCA Dome, did not respond, Glass said.

None of the design companies returned phone calls seeking comment.

Glass refused to disclose cost estimates produced by the firms but said the board has been working on an assumption that a fixed-roof stadium would cost roughly $450 million.

The Colts and the city have been in negotiations for a new long-term contract since late 2002. The team's lease runs through the 2013 season. But the contract includes an escape clause that could kick in after the 2006 season if the team's revenue doesn't consistently match the National Football League's median income.

Lucas Oil Stadium

Last year, Mayor Bart Peterson said it was reasonable to assume the two sides would sign a new lease this year. Weeks later, Colts owner Jim Irsay said such a deal would likely include "something that would lead to a new stadium."

Peterson refused to comment on the letter Thursday. His chief deputy, Michael O'Connor, said the need to expand the Convention Center is currently a bigger factor than the Colts lease, in terms of stadium planning.

"We're going to have to plan for a new venue" if the Convention Center is built into the current RCA Dome space, O'Connor said. "We've been very clear that we're going to expand the Convention Center."

City and Colts officials would not comment on what impact the designs have had on contract talks with the team.

Reached Thursday, Colts Senior Executive Vice President Pete Ward refused to comment on the designs.

The two sides met last week in a negotiating session that both Irsay and Peterson attended, O'Connor said. He said the designs were not directly discussed at the meeting.

The request for those designs was not approved by the Capital Improvement Board. That would have made the issue public. Instead, a "building task force" created by the board authorized the request, Glass said. The letter is marked confidential and asks firms not to share its contents.

On Thursday, The Star filed a formal request for the stadium designs under the state's open-records law.

Asked why the letter was kept secret and why designs would not be released to the public, O'Connor said there was nothing wrong with commissioning the work in private.

He added that the public would have a chance to weigh in on designs later.

"None of these are proposals," O'Connor said. "They are conceptual models."

At least one sports expert said it makes sense to work out conceptual designs before sealing a deal with a team. That way, officials know what they're getting into.

Cleveland State University sports economist Mark Rosentraub added that Indianapolis' positioning was not uncommon in other cities.

"If you're going to do a deal with a team, you have to be sure of your goals and objectives," Rosentraub said. "It sounds like Indianapolis is taking a step in the right direction."

On September 9, 2005 Eric English wrote: I just wanted to pass along some information about the funding of the New Lucas Oil Stadium project that you might be missing. The article that you posted about funding the project with slot money was pretty much wishful thinking.

The stadium project is linked with the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. These projects will be funded by a 1% tax on all prepared food in the 9 counties that surround Indianapolis except Morgan County. Marion County (County that holds Indy) will fund the project with an additional 1% tax on top of the original 1% that Marion Co. already pays for the RCA Dome. The project will also be funded by an increase in the Marion County hotel tax, rental car tax, also the sale of special Colts vanity license plate, and future lottery tickets earmarked for the project.

Source: IndyStar.com

State OKs deal with city and Colts
Stadium construction to start within days
By Michele McNeil
michele.mcneil@indystar.com
September 9, 2005

Construction will begin within days on a new Colts stadium that will have more luxurious seats, a street-level team store, escalators to whisk spectators up six major levels and an average of one toilet for every 45 fans.

The state board charged with building the $500 million, retractable-roof stadium unanimously approved a key agreement with the city and the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday that will govern how the stadium will be designed and built.

The approval of the development agreement comes after the city reached a deal last week with the Colts on the lease, a separate agreement that ensures the Colts will stay until at least 2034. The city's Capital Improvement Board authorized President Fred Glass to sign the lease and development agreements Thursday.

"It's a big day for the city," said David Frick, chairman of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Center Building Authority.

"The fun part really now begins."

Thursday, the state authority, which has been operating without any money, was able to jumpstart the action with a $40 million loan to cover some construction costs until the project's entire financing is arranged. That will take a $1 billion loan, which would pay for the new stadium and, later, an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. On Thursday, the authority approved spending more than $15 million on contracts for fencing, excavation and sewer construction work.

The development agreement does not call for a ticket tax -- and makes it almost impossible for the state to impose one. If the state wants to try, the development agreement says, officials have to consult with several groups first, including the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Indians, the city and hospitality groups. Even then, the Colts could break their lease if the ticket tax is imposed, said John Klipsch, executive director of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Center Building Authority.

The 63-page development agreement does everything from spelling out a construction timeline to saying when the Colts will seek an agreement with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for a specialty team license plate.

The agreement requires a model of an actual stadium suite to be built by June 1 so the Colts could use it for marketing. The stadium seats also must be in place by March 2008, to help the Colts sell tickets.

Though the stadium will be game-ready by the start of the 2008 football season, the finishing touches, such as the last concession stands, are not expected to be complete until February 2009.

Still more details are in the so-called "program" that complements the development agreement -- details such as the number of toilets. The total could be as many as 1,400, but there's no word yet on how many will be designated for each sex.

There will be 10 to 13 escalators and 10 to 12 elevators for fans. The stadium will include a street-level team store and six levels. About 11 percent of the 63,000 seats will be roomier, club-level seats. Luxury suites will number from 140 to 150.

The playing field will be 25 feet below street level.

The stadium will be built with 15,000 tons of steel and 100,000 cubic yards of concrete, measuring up to 1.8 million square feet.

That will make the new stadium twice the size of Conseco Fieldhouse.

Bigger and better

Scoreboard
Click Here to Get Your Personalized Scoreboard
The new stadium will be bigger and better than the RCA Dome in many ways. Here are just a few:
* Seating: 63,000 for football; 70,000-plus for other events such as basketball and concerts * Cost: $715.4 million - $719.6 million (est.)
* Seven levels (vs. three in RCA Dome)
* 1.8 million square feet
* 183,000 square feet of exhibit space
* 137 luxury suites (vs. 104 in RCA Dome)
* Retractable roof opening: 176,400 square feet (more than four acres)
* Time to open and close roof: nine to 11 minutes
* Total roof weight: 14,000 tons-plus
* Size: About 12 acres, or 522,720 square feet compared to the RCA Dome's stadium building area of 7.25 acres, or about 315,810 square feet.
* 130,000 cubic yards of cast-in-place concrete
* 16,000 tons of steel
* 700 pieces of structural precast concrete
* 1,440 pieces of architectural precast
* 9,100 pieces of exterior glass
* Operational large north window (six panels, 88 feet tall and 244 feet wide) providing view of downtown
* Public concourses minimum 30 feet wide, up to 80 feet wide
* 148 concessions stands (vs. 80 in RCA Dome)
* 14 escalators and 11 passenger elevators (vs. no escalators in RCA Dome and six elevators)
* Two slightly graded pedestrian ramps inside the building giving access to each level of the stadium (vs. none in RCA Dome)
* No bleacher seats (vs. all bleacher seating in RCA Dome upper deck)

Slot machines in Indianapolis would be the key to financing a $500 million, retractable-roof stadium proposed Sunday night by the mayor and the owner of the Indianapolis Colts.

"We have a deal," said a smiling Mayor Bart Peterson as he and team owner Jim Irsay held up their arms in victory before a roaring crowd of more than 55,000 that had turned out to see the Colts take on the Baltimore Ravens.

While the cheers at the RCA Dome were loud, the agreement between the city and the franchise marks only the start of what could be a contentious process.

The debate over expanding gambling in Indianapolis began Sunday and will reach into the Statehouse as the legislature considers the plan when it reconvenes next month.

Parts of the plan also must clear the City-County Council.

Sunday, Peterson and Irsay briefly set aside the potential political and practical hurdles facing the plan as they stood on the dome's artificial turf to announce their plans to ensure that Indianapolis' two-decade-long status as a National Football League city continues for a second generation. The announcement before a sold-out game culminated two years of negotiations.

The proposal calls for the city to build a 63,000-seat stadium, which could expand to seat 70,000, in time for the 2008 NFL season. The team will sign a new 30-year lease.

Already, lawmakers are looking for concessions.

Senate Tax and Financing Policy Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said he has asked city officials to make as many as 6,000 tickets to each Colts game available at prices of $25 or less to help win legislative support for their financing package.

"I want Joe Sixpack to have a price he can afford to pay for a ticket," Kenley said.

Peterson plans to sell the stadium deal as part of a larger $800 million package that includes a massive expansion of the Indiana Convention Center, which draws more than 800,000 visitors to the city each year and which officials contend is vital to the Downtown economy.

Peterson has said the Convention Center would be expanded on the site that now houses the dome, while a new stadium would be built to the south. In the face of criticism from those who oppose subsidizing a sports franchise, Peterson has argued that the team is key to the city's big-city image.

That assertion could be bolstered if building a new stadium helps the city land a Super Bowl, a prize the NFL has awarded other cities that have built new stadiums.

Advised lawmakers

Peterson and his aides briefed Gov.-elect Mitch Daniels and state lawmakers on the package's highlights several hours before the kickoff of one of the biggest games in franchise history, a nationally televised contest in which Peyton Manning made a run at breaking the NFL's single-season touchdown passing record.

Daniels, who recently expressed doubts about expanding gambling in Indiana, declined to comment on the plan Sunday.

Some of those briefed told The Indianapolis Star that the stadium would be paid for with borrowed money bankrolled by taxes imposed on yet-to-be-authorized slot machines in Marion County, as well as a contribution from the Colts and the NFL totaling about $100 million.

Late Sunday, Peterson spokesman Steve Campbell confirmed the financing plan would include roughly $400 million from pull-tab machines, which are similar to slot machines, and the remainder would come from the team and the league. He said further details would be released today.

City officials also have said they'd solicit money from Hoosier businesses, spend some of the Capital Improvement Board's cash reserves and seek money from the state and federal governments. The board acts as landlord for the Convention Center and the city's sporting venues.

Marion County GOP Chairman Michael Murphy, an Indiana House lawmaker from Indianapolis who was not briefed on the mayor's plan, said Peterson could have a tough time winning approval for anything resembling a Downtown casino.

"A Downtown casino would be controversial because it's a clear expansion of gambling," he said. "I'm sure the riverboats would fight it."

Sen. Murray Clark said he was not sure the city had any other good options for finding the money needed to finance the proposal before the mayor's self-imposed, end-of-the-year deadline to seal a deal with the Colts.

"I think they're going to need a lot of help from the legislature," said Clark, R-Indianapolis.

In addition, details to be released today could include a provision reducing the city's obligation to make annual payments to the Colts beginning in 2006 to keep them playing here. Under the team's existing contract, the city could owe the Colts payments totaling at least $36 million through 2008, when the new stadium would open.

Without a new lease, the team could leave Indianapolis after the 2013 season, and possibly earlier.

The Convention Center expansion would be paid for with higher restaurant, hotel, stadium admission and auto rental taxes, as well as by lifting the cap on a special taxing district that captures sales, income and other taxes generated by the city's major sporting venues, said House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale.

Currently, the city keeps $6.5 million a year of the roughly $12 million the special sports taxing district generates. The district was created in 1997 to help build Conseco Fieldhouse. The rest of the money goes to the state.

State lawmakers have said including this element in the financing package could be a tough sell, especially while the state has a nearly $600 million deficit.

"I think that is a weak point of their argument," Espich said. "I don't think what they propose can be taken as gospel just yet."

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he expects Peterson to pitch financing for the stadium and Convention Center expansion separately. He said having a Super Bowl in the mix could help.

"Whether that price is too much will be answered during the legislative session," he said. "Certainly, Central Indiana's legislators understand the importance of our professional teams."

Downtown business boon

The city began negotiations with the Colts in 2002, as rumors spread that Irsay was considering moving the franchise to Los Angeles. Irsay said repeatedly that he was committed to Indianapolis but also warned that the RCA Dome, the smallest in the league, has contributed to the team trailing much of the league in revenue.

Supporters have said the team has played a crucial role in the revitalization of Downtown that took place largely after the Colts arrived from Baltimore in 1984.

Sunday, Jillian's on South Meridian Street was filled with a sea of blue-clad fans in the hours before the kickoff. When asked about the effect the Colts have on his business, general manager Jim Brown looked at the crowd.

"Do I really need to answer that?" he joked.

Brown said the bar's business on the day of home games is nearly double what it normally is.

"We love the Colts, and it's great they're going to be here for 30 more years," he said. "I just wish we had 30 more years of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James, too."

Source: IndyStar.com

COLTS BEGIN SUITE SALES
March 23, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaVentures

The Indianapolis Colts have begun selling the 142 luxury suites planned for the new Lucas Oil Stadium that opens in 2008. Prices range from $40,000 to nearly $235,000.

The venue will feature eight suites in the south end zone just five feet from the end zone. These suites seat 21 and are priced at $90,000, but larger suites are available, seating up to 36 fans. The smallest suite seats eight fans. The Quarterback Suite will have 160 seats, each sold separately. Prices are $3,750 to $4,000.

The suites will be marketed first to the 104 suite holders in the RCA Dome, then the 48 firms on the waiting list will get their chance.

Greg Hylton, vice president of premium seat and ticket sales, said companies that buy the large super suites will be able to pick from different types of sofas and possibly wall hangings. Companies, however, will not be able to bring in furniture, or, for example, pick their own shade of carpeting, he said.

Club seats go on sale in April. Prices have not been announced.

April 13, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaVentures

More than half of the $50 million contingency fund set aside for construction of the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has been spent. The money went out to meet bids that came in higher than expected

COLTS SHOW OFF NEW STADIUM
September 11, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Commissioner Roger Goodell attended the first regular-season game in the Indianapolis Colts' new $720 million home, and was struck by everything the facility had to offer.

Lucas Oil Stadium
Source: IndyStar.com
"It's spectacular," Goodell said prior to the Colts' season opener against the Chicago Bears. "I had a chance to walk around a little before the game and it's got a lot of character." The retractable roof was open as was the sliding window on the north side of the stadium.

"The biggest thing was the glass windows at the end," Goodell said. "It's just striking the way it just brings the whole community into the facility. It's got a lot of character. "I think it represents this community very effectively."

Lucas Oil Stadium will be the epicenter of the NFL when Indy hosts Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. On a non-Lucas Oil Stadium issue, Goodell said the league is looking into altering its current schedule of 16 regular-season games and four or five preseason games. Ideally, the result will be 18 regular-season games and two preseason games.

"We're giving serious consideration to it,'' Goodell said. "There are still significant challenges ahead, but we think it's compelling from the standpoint of the quality of our preseason and reducing that by two, adding those two into regular-season games. (Indianapolis Star)

OPERATING COSTS JUMP IN INDIANAPOLIS
September 18, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - The costs of operating Lucas Oil Stadium could leave the city with a budget hole twice as large as earlier projected.

Officials at the Capital Improvement Board, which operates the city's stadiums and convention center, plan to draw $25 million from reserves this year and in 2009, $20 million of which will go to higher stadium operating costs.

Previous estimates put the extra costs of running the new stadium at about $10 million. Lucas Oil Stadium, at 1.8 million square feet, is nearly double the size of the soon-to-be-imploded RCA Dome, so its higher operating costs aren't surprising. It needs more people to work on its cleaning crews, with its food vendors and in parking. Its water and electricity costs are higher, too. CIB officials weren't able to provide numbers on how many more game-day workers are needed, but the full-time staff has increased by 52 employees.

With the higher costs, CIB budgets for this year and next show the agency's operating fund balance dwindling to $5.6 million next year.

Officials anticipate that an expanded Indiana Convention Center - expected by late 2010 - and the new business it attracts eventually will help cover the CIB's operating costs.

But if those new revenues fall short, the CIB's reserves could be wiped out.

CIB Chairman Bob Grand said he is concerned about the rapid depletion of reserves and how the CIB will cover expenses in 2010. Two years ago, CIB officials said they were confident a solution would be found, but the size of the projected gap has only widened.

"We're making guesses until we have actual numbers," Grand said. "We're bleeding cash right now, absolutely."

Officials say they want to get through a full Colts season to get a better handle on the increased costs at Lucas Oil Stadium before making any long-term decisions.

They also said it's premature to discuss options such as more taxes, user fees, or asking the state or the Colts for help.

"The (increased costs) number is definitely more than $10 million but probably less than $20 million," Lathrop said. "We want to be sure we have the flexibility in case we have to fix something."

The CIB projected its operating budget would increase from $58 million in 2007 to $78 million next year.

The budget also contains good news, projecting revenues from setup, rentals and food sales to double in 2009, when Lucas Oil Stadium will be open to events other than football for the entire year instead of just four months, as it is this year.

Barney Levengood, the CIB's executive director, said the stadium is already drawing higher numbers of people - more than 400,000 in August, its first month of operation, compared with about 600,000 in the last Colts season at the dome.

Team officials have said the bigger stadium means more tax revenues for the city. They also estimated the team and its employees will pay about $1 billion in taxes over the 30 years they've promised to stay in the city as a result of the stadium deal. (Indianapolis Star)

Aerial View
Copyright 2008 by iPhotoIndy, whom we thank very much.

THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Lucas Oil Stadium Ranking by USRT
Architecture 9
Concessions 6
Scoreboard 6
Ushers 7
Fan Support 7
Location 8.5
Banners/History 4
Entertainment 8
Concourses/Fan Comfort 8.5
Bonus: Tailgate Scene 1
Bonus: White Castle Nearby 1
Bonus: Entertainment @ Each Gate 1
Bonus: Kick Ass Town 1
Bonus: Retractable Roof and Wall 1
Bonus: Main Gate and Atrium 1
Total Score 70
October 12, 2008 - We used to roll out these things within days of our official visits, so apologies for taking so long to get this up on the USRT site.

Nonetheless, we are pleased to unveil the official venue profile for Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts.

We met and deliberated just yesterday to come up with the scores for each of the criteria in how we evaluate a sports venue. Here are the scores (10 pts maximum per category).

So 70 points is good enough to earn the Colts a 6th place tie in our rankings of all 32 NFL teams that also means that our home team and stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, drops to 30th place in the USRT matrix. Yikes!

Over! Done! Once again, the Ultimate Sports Road Trip hit the finish line, as this afternoon we attended a game of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. When we did our ceremonial signing of "The Good Book", we could once again claim that we have attended a home game of each of the 122 teams in the four major sports in their current and active venue.

This day started on a sundrenched, summery, bucolic day here in downtown Indianapolis, and we headed out early to soak it all in. After doing the WHite Castle run for some grub, we checked out the tailgate scene, and toured the neighborhood to grab pictures.

Tailgating here is pretty good, with most of the open lots south of Union Station and the rail trellace which separates the center part of downtown from the stadium area. The new construction around here consists of several hotels, interspersed with some warehouses and light industrial, and even a couple of charming neighborhoods with rowhouses and victorian style cottages. You can tell the old from the new, as most of the stadium itself and the new construction you can literally smell the new pavement, landscape beds, streetscapes and such - it all looks and feels new.

Lucas Oil Stadium is a magnificent edifice - tall, massive, stately and so dominant on the city's skyline. The facade is red brick, steel and glass; the stadium marquee gleams at the top of the building; watching the roof, and the north wall, retract and open to the elements is a sight to behold. Outside there is entertainment at each of the four major entrances, a family fun zone on the east side with children's games, live music and food as well as corporate booths selling all kinds of stuff. But the signature entrance is the north side facing downtown. That is the Lucas Oil Gate, and walking into the building from that vantage point gives you a real "wow factor". The massive lobby here looks like a 50s retro theme - race cars, Lucas Oil paraphernalia, diner stle concession stands, and a sweeping view of the seating bowl.

Each separate entrance has a corporate sponsor and its own "wow" lobby. The concourses here are full of color, banners, signage, ads, marquees and exhibits which mute what would other be austere grey concrete.

The seating bowl has a steep upward pitch which makes for great viewing, save for the 600 seats (where we sat) which are somewhat high up. Club seating here is on the 200/300 level sidelines, and the best sideline seats in the 100s, which also have their own private club lounges. The scoreboards here are a bit of a disappointment - video board hang off center in two corners of the stadium and are not that special, and the ribbon boards on the 200 deck are not really utilized all that well. The game clock, down and score graphics are small and hard to find (located in the end zones).

If we kvetched about the snoozer of a game we saw in Bloomington yesterday, this one was just as bad - the Colts absolutely decimated the visiting Baltimore Ravens, winning 31-3. You would think the hometown fans would be hooting and hollering as they left the building. After all this was their historic first wine ever at LOS. But the quiet shuffle of the crowd walking back towards downtown and to their cars and homes suggested that these were really tea and crumpet fans, and no frikkin way can they hang with the Bills crazies at RWS.

So here we are for one more great night in the Big City. We're bailing on the St. Elmo idea and heading to one of many awesome brewpubs or sports bars for some grub, gonna watch the NLCS (go Phillies!).

Indianapolis Colts Capitalize on Sponsor Relationships
December 29, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

The Indianapolis Colts closed out their first regular season at Lucas Oil Stadium this afternoon. The stadium offers an example of how teams are working to generate more dollars from sponsors while giving companies more real estate and fans more things to do inside sports venues. Sponsors don't just get signage anymore. That's been true for some time, but in Indianapolis, companies' names are connected to an actual section of Lucas Oil Stadium. The companies work with the Colts to decorate and program the areas to maximize their businesses and entertainment for fans.

There's the Lucas Oil Gate, naturally, the Huntington Bank Gate, the hhgregg Gate and so on. The Air Tran Food Court features a first class fuselage that people can sit in. The team's five- to eight-year sponsor contracts are worth $10 million to $12 million annually.

"We are considered a small market NFL team so a new stadium was critical for us. Based on the way the economics of the National Football League work today, we needed a stadium that was going to drive revenue," said Peter Ward, Colts senior executive vice president. "This helps us stay competitive on the field…This allows us the opportunity to maximize our revenue."

At the Lucas Oil Gate, there are dragsters; old-fashioned gas pumps that have LCD TVs installed in them; over-sized oil cans that also serve as stations for TVs; planes that hang from the ceiling; and a horseshoe-shaped stage for bands and TV and radio shows.

"Our goal was to create areas that could be sponsored and themed that also create points of interest for the fans. It had to work for the sponsors as well as our fans," Ward said. Hhgregg, a TV and appliance retailer with stores in nine states including Florida, has a 26,000-square-foot interactive fan area at the stadium's south entrance with flat screen TVs, digital cameras and even washers and dryers on display. There's an interactive video game in which fans can throw or kick a football across a virtual screen designed to look like Lucas Oil Stadium.

There are also six 52-inch Samsung TVs, a seating area in the shape of a horseshoe, and poles that look like goalposts. There's a product pavilion with Electrolux appliances, including refrigerators. Everything is wrapped in hhgreg signage, but there's also signage for Electrolux, Sony and other appliance brands.

In addition, the Colts' official appliance retailer of flat panel TVs, has sales associates working the gate entrances, handing out coupons.

"We've had a long-standing partnership with the Colts," said Jeff Pearson, hhgregg vice president of marketing. "We sell a large number of flat panel TVs. All of that helps us sell TVs … Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be a place a lot of people go through in the next number of years." Source: Sun Sentinel

INDIANAPOLIS VENUE BOARD SEEING RED INK
January 29, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, which manages Lucas Oil Stadium and other sports venues, says its operating deficit could grow to $43 million by next year, far worse than projected and too large for it to solve alone.

Part of the problem: the expected renegotiation of the Indiana Pacers' lease of Conseco Fieldhouse. The basketball team pays $15 million a year to cover game-day expenses, and the CIB, calculating the worst-case scenario, is assuming it could have to take over that cost.

To get out of its financial mess, the CIB could try to renegotiate better deals with the Indianapolis Colts and other sports teams that use the stadiums it runs.

It also could ask city taxpayers for help, though no new taxes could be raised without the OK of the city or state.

Neither option was discussed; instead, board members said the goal was to review the problem and kick off efforts to find solutions.

The situation is so dire that board Treasurer Ann Lathrop said auditors are reviewing the CIB's finances as a "going concern," a term used to suggest that its near-term viability is in question.

The board already had projected an operating deficit of up to $20 million per year in running Lucas Oil Stadium, and it added $5 million to that total for other facilities this year. Just as pressing, the CIB now expects to have to pay $43 million this year for unanticipated loan and insurance obligations brought on by the ongoing world financial crisis.

Debts that could have been handled in the past are being called in by banks short on cash, Lathrop said. Another one-time debt payment of nearly $34 million more will come due in 2017. Bob Cockrum, the City-County Council president and a CIB member, said nearly every option for a solution is on the table.

Raising taxes during a recession, he said, likely would provoke a strong negative reaction. "Some people would support it for one team or another, but others would say enough is enough," Cockrum said. "I don't think a bailout is an option."

He said the first step for the board was to reduce expenses.

It ordered a cut of 8 percent, or about $6 million, from this year's budget of $78 million and instituted immediate freezes on hiring, salaries and travel.

Just how effective any of the more obvious solutions might be will be a big question for the board to tackle.

Colts owner Jim Irsay could not be reached for comment, but Pete Ward, the team's vice president, last year said the idea of "reopening a (lease) agreement that took four years to negotiate is ludicrous."

Patrick Early, the board's vice president, said the struggling Pacers are expected to use their option to renegotiate their lease this year.

He said he expected the CIB will have to take on more of the expenses of running Conseco if it wants to keep the team in Indianapolis.

"All we've established is that the business model we're working with now can't work in the long term," Early said. "We haven't figured out a solution, but I believe it's in the best interest of the city to have the Pacers stay in that building."

Early said the Pacers' owners, Mel and Herb Simon, can't continue to lose money on the team, even as he acknowledged that the players' legal troubles in the recent past contributed to falling attendance and income. He said the team makes less than the NBA average because it's in a smaller TV market.

"Ultimately, we own the building," Early said, "so we'll have to deal with those expenses." While the Pacers pay $15 million a year to play at Conseco, the city agreed to bear game-day expenses for the Colts in exchange for a lease that would keep the team in town for at least 30 years.

Rick Fuson, chief operating officer of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement that he was pleased that the CIB is already looking at the problem.

CIB President Bob Grand said the board will need to work with the teams, the city and financial experts to get out of its trouble.

He said he was not ready to ask the Colts to renegotiate a deal that many have criticized as too generous. But he said the board will review CIB grants for the arts and other groups and try to find a way to manage its facilities better.

Grand had asked Lathrop to study the costs of the new stadium once a full season was complete. Lucas Oil Stadium, at 1.8 million square feet, is nearly double the size of the recently imploded RCA Dome, so its higher operating costs aren't surprising. Its water and electricity costs are higher, too.

With the higher costs, the CIB operating fund balance will dwindle to $5.6 million this year from tens of millions in past years.

The problem can be traced to the plans developed to finance the stadium.

City officials had anticipated covering increased costs with taxes from a proposed Downtown casino. But when the state wrested control of the building project in 2005, the new plan included no casino or other way to cover the increased operating expenses.

State officials say they never agreed to pay those costs. Under the terms of the state's financing, excess revenue from higher taxes on food and beverage sales, hotel bookings and car rentals will be used to pay off construction bond debt early rather than to cover operating costs.

Officials think an expanded convention center - expected by late 2010 - and the new business it attracts eventually will help cover the CIB's operating costs. But the board's problems are more immediate.

Grand said he did not expect the board's financial problems to affect the city's hosting of the 2012 Super Bowl. (Indianapolis Star)

INDIANAPOLIS LOOKS FOR WAYS TO MEET STADIUM COSTS
February 12, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - The Capital Improvement Board will cut nearly $6 million from its budget by putting off planned maintenance, cutting advertising, leaving positions unfilled and otherwise paring costs on such things as legal fees and security contracts.

Facing an annual deficit expected to exceed $43 million next year and one-time payments of the same amount by September, the board approved a plan to tighten its belt on costs while promising not to hurt essential services.

"This sends a message that we're serious about making cuts," said Bob Grand, the board's president. "It's important to start here in our negotiations with other stakeholders" such as the city, state and teams that play in the stadiums the CIB operates.

Grand ruled out lobbying for higher property taxes as a potential solution and said raising other taxes and fees, such as food and beverage taxes the board has tapped in the past, would be a last resort.

But he also said he expects that CIB grants to nonprofit groups will suffer in a future round of cost-cutting. He said it would be hard to avoid some reduction to cultural tourism, Indiana Black Expo, the Indiana Sports Corp. and the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

With $37 million to go, the CIB will continue to seek help from the city, state and teams to dig out of its hole.

Barney Levengood, the board's executive director, said his staff will have to find ways to do more with less. He plans to save $1.1 million in salaries and benefits, $2.3 million in maintenance and repairs, $250,000 from supplies and $2.2 million from a combination of advertising cuts and utility, legal and insurance savings.

"Anything we don't have to do, we won't do," Levengood said. "I told my staff that you run your car differently when you're running on empty than on full. You stop and speed up more carefully to conserve gas."

The CIB had seen years of steady growth before falling into its financial morass, a mess that traces in large part to the decision to build Lucas Oil Stadium.

The stadium is nearly double the size of the former RCA Dome, so its higher operating costs aren't surprising. It needs more people to work on its maintenance and cleaning crews and as security and food vendors. Its utility, repair, supply and insurance costs are higher, too.

Early estimates projected the stadium would cost $10 million more to run than the dome. That figure, however, proved far from accurate.

The CIB says it spent $27.2 million last year to operate the stadium and generated revenues of $7.7 million, leaving it with a deficit of $19.5 million, twice as much as anticipated.

At the same time, changes in its contract with the Colts cut CIB revenues by more than $8 million. These changes include giving the team all suite and advertising revenue, as well as a bigger slice of food concessions and novelty sales at the stadium. (Indianapolis Star)

INDIANA LOOKS FOR WAYS TO FUND VENUES
April 2, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Everything from a ticket to the game to a hot dog and a beer will cost more under a plan to bail out the financially struggling Capital Improvement Board, the agency that oversees Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse.

Fans won't be alone in being asked to help. Alcohol taxes would double statewide, and out-of-town visitors to Marion County would be asked to pay the highest hotel taxes in the nation.

The plan also calls for the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers to dip into their pockets, with each contributing $5 million annually to help close the projected $47 million deficit at the CIB, which runs the city's professional sports arenas.

That $5 million is, in fact, a $10 million break for the Pacers, because the deal assumes the CIB will take over the $15 million annual expense of operating Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Colts, on the other hand, now pay nothing to use Lucas Oil Stadium.

State Sen. Luke Kenley, who put together the plan and who will seek to have it inserted into legislation at a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, said neither team has agreed to the proposal.

"We feel that somehow everybody should have skin in the game," Kenley said, "(but) we haven't reached any final agreements with them."

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who joined Kenley at a news conference at which the plan was outlined, wouldn't say he endorsed the details but said he supported the need to preserve the convention and entertainment business in Downtown Indianapolis.

"This is not about any individual teams or anything. This is about Downtown Indianapolis. This is about the convention business. This is about $3.5 billion worth of convention business, 66,000 jobs in Central Indiana related to hospitality - that's what this is about," Ballard said. "We must maintain this economic engine."

However, southern Indiana lawmakers have panned a proposal to bail out the cash-strapped group that oversees professional sports venues in Indianapolis as unfair to taxpayers around the state. It would take $6 million out of state coffers and give it directly to Indianapolis - a provision many Southern Indiana legislators are rejecting.

Kenley said the plan, quietly negotiated in talks with the CIB, Pacers and Colts that began in January, will boost economic development statewide, as all of the alcohol tax increase will be given to cities and towns with the exception of Marion County. He estimated it will mean more than $68,000 for Carmel, more than $14,000 for Lebanon and more than $47,000 for Greenwood.

Kenley's plan also would boost Evansville's efforts to build its sports arena Downtown because he'll amend his proposal into legislation that frees the city to increase its food and beverage tax to help replace Roberts Stadium.

And Kenley argued that the doubling of the taxes - the first increase since 1981 - really just means pennies out of a drinker's pocket.

"It would be about 2 cents for a shot. On wine, it would be about a penny for every three ounces of wine. On a beer, it would raise the beer tax by 1 penny on a 12-ounce container of beer," he said.

The plan includes:

* Doubling the state's alcohol tax, boosting the tax on beer to 23 cents per gallon from the current 11.5 cents; to 94 cents per gallon from 47 cents on wine; and to $5.36 from $2.68 on liquor. An estimated $8 million raised in Marion County through the higher tax would all go to the CIB.

* Authorizing the City-County Council to raise the food and beverage tax in Marion County to 2.25 percent from the current 2 percent; the admission tax on tickets to 10 percent from the current 6 percent; and the innkeepers tax on hotel rooms to 9 percent from the current 8 percent.

* Expanding the Professional Sports Development Area to include the new Marriott Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis, with the estimated $6 million sales tax going to the CIB instead of the state.

* $5 million payments annually from the Pacers and the Colts.

* $2.5 million in cost cuts by the CIB, on top of $7.5 million already made.

The CIB in January reported that the costs of operating Lucas Oil Stadium are about $20 million more per year than revenues it makes off the stadium, or twice what was projected earlier.

The board said it also would need another $3 million to market the expanded Indiana Convention Center and anticipated assuming the costs of running Conseco Fieldhouse, which the Pacers peg at $15 million per year.

Opposition will be coming from lobbyists in the industries affected.

Jim Purucker, a lobbyist and executive director for the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of Indiana, said the tax increase will make Indiana less competitive than surrounding states with lower taxes.

John Livengood, a lobbyist who is president of the Indiana Hotel & Lodging Association, the Restaurant and Hospitality Association and the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, also said the tax increases that hit those areas could cost the state some of the very tourism business it is trying to preserve.

Indianapolis already is second only to Chicago in the taxes it levies on visitors, he said. The 1 percentage point increase in the innkeepers tax will make the city's tax on hotel rooms the highest in the nation. (Indianapolis Star, Evansville Courier)

COLTS' STADIUM COULD CLOSE IF FUNDING NOT FOUND
April 9, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Lucas Oil Stadium could be closed if funding isn't found to cover the costs of the venue and Conseco Fieldhouse. Capital Improvement Board officials say $47 million is needed. The Indiana Senate is considering a bill to raise several taxes, including those on alcohol, restaurant meals and hotel rooms.

Improvement board officials say they don't have many options if the legislature decides not to provide additional funds. Legislators, however, are revenue declines and needs in other areas.

Because much of the deficit comes from higher than expected costs to operate the stadium, it is the facility most likely to face closure if money cannot be found, officials say.

The CIB estimates a total of $26 million in operating costs - $10 million for salaries of stadium workers, $5 million for utilities, $5 million to the Colts and $6 million for other services., such as game-day setup.

The bailout bill would double the wholesale tax on beer, wine and spirits, raise local hotel and motel taxes from 9 to 10 percent, boost the food and beverage tax a quarter of a percent and increase the tax on stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse tickets from 6 to 10 percent.

The bill also assumes $5 million a year each in contributions from the Colts and Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers hope the deal would allow them to drop their $15 million commitment to operate Conseco Fieldhouse. The Colts have made no promises, but say they would discuss what they might consider paying.

Some hoteliers in Indianapolis say a proposed one percent increase in the hotel room tax is not likely to hurt their industry because they are already well below competitors' levels. The city's rate is currently nine percent.

Indianapolis' average daily hotel room rate of $82 is lower than that some other cities including Columbus, Ohio at $84, Louisville, Ky. at $90, Nashville, Tenn. at $93, and Chicago with $102, according to STR Global and HotelNewsNow.com. Only St. Louis is lower, with a rate of $80.

If the increase is approved, taxes for an Indianapolis room, including state sales tax, would climb 82 cents based on an average rate of $82. The total tax rate would be 17 percent.

April 16, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The Indiana Senate has approved a plan to help the Capital Improvement Board fund expenses for operating Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Arena. The bill, which gives Marion County additional taxing options, also calls for the Colts and Pacers to contribute $5 million each, although that cannot be forced on the teams.

INDIANAPOLIS EXPECTS TEAMS TO ADD CASH
May 7, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - County leaders are expecting the Colts and Pacers to ante up money to help cover the costs of operating Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse, but the Colts say that's an unreasonable expectation.

In a break during the NFL draft, Colts owners Jim Irsay said it doesn't make sense for a sports team to spent years working out a deal with public officials only to have those officials later say they want to change the terms and criticize the teams for not going along.

The 30-year contract that the Colts signed gave the Capital Improvement Board the operating costs of the stadium. The Colts pay $250,000 per year to use the stadium.

The Pacers, who pay some operating costs for Conseco, are trying to renegotiate with the city because they say they've lost money for most of the decade.

The CIB has projected its 2010 deficit at $47 million. That figure includes $15 million in Conseco Fieldhouse operating costs now covered by the Pacers, and $20 million is the result of higher expenses at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts' new home.

The current proposal to close the deficit includes $5 million each from the Colts and Pacers, creating a local alcohol tax, raising the city's hotel and car rental taxes as well as the ticket tax. It also would expand the sports development area to include a new downtown hotel.

Irsay called the ticket tax, which he said would jump from 6 to 10 percent, excessively high for one of the NFL's smallest markets. He also said the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the city's Triple-A minor-league baseball team, the Indianapolis Indians, aren't happy either.

In the meantime, the Capital Improvement Board says it will consider everything from gestures as small as ditching the free sodas at its meetings to something as ambitious as selling the naming rights for the Indiana Convention Center.

CIB President Bob Grand said the agency will intensify cost-cutting after the legislature declined to pass a bailout plan. The CIB and mayor had asked state and city officials to raise taxes on alcohol, hotel rooms, car rentals and stadium tickets to plug an expected operating deficit of $47 million next year.

The CIB might receive help from Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration with a payment of $27 million due in September. If the CIB had to make that payment on its own, it would wipe out nearly all of its reserve funds.

STUDY FINDS HIGH EXPENSES IN INDIANAPOLIS
June 18, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - A study that compared the operations of the facility complexes in Indianapolis and Houston shows that Indianapolis is generating significantly more expenses. The study was done by management firm SMG which also manages the Houston facilities.

The Indianapolis facilities included Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center. In Houston, the facilities included the Reliant Park complex.

The comparison showed Indianapolis generated $3.09 in expense for every dollar of revenue. In Houston, the number was $1.59. SMG noted the figures were adjusted for a like for like comparison.

SMG also compared just the convention center operations to other facilities it manages in Denver, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and Columbus. In Indianapolis, the center generated $3.42 in expenses for every dollar of revenue while Denver generated $1.32, Pittsburgh reported $1.46, Atlantic City showed $1.52 and Columbus was at $1.12.

In a detailed comparison of just the Indianapolis and Houston complexes, SMG reported (amounts in thousands):
Indianapolis 2009 Revised BudgetHouston 2008-09 Actual
Operating Revenue
Rental Income$5,586$6,001
Food & Beverage$2,788$2,834
Parking$323$2,394
Labor Reimbursements$11,218$9,789
Other Income$1,213$3,329
TOTAL REVENUE$21,128$24,347
Operating Expenses
Salaries, Wages & Contractual Labor$24,517$19,323
Employee Benefits & Other$4,468$2,400
$28,985$21,723
Supplies$2,503$2,270
Professional Services$9,723$111
Printing and Advertising$1,429$791
Insurance$1,816$635
Utility Services$7,503-
Repairs & Maintenance$2,677$2,253
Colts Revenue Share and Game Expenses$5,000-
Other Operating Expenses$2,670$1,354
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES$62,308$29,137
Net Operations Before Capital Outlays($41,180)($4,790)
Capital Outlays$3,055-
Net Operations Including Capital Outlays($44,275)($4,790)

Officials in Indiana will be using the comparisons to decide future management issues concerning their facilities and whether to merge various public agencies to gain greater efficiencies.

October 15, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

While many local governments are struggling with declining tax revenues, the mix of Marion County and suburban tax collections that pay the debt on the nearly $1 billion cost of constructing Lucas Oil Stadium and expanding the Indiana Convention Center are beating state projections. Revenue for the Indianapolis projects has topped $157 million since the inception of the taxes and fees in 2006 through June. That's $17.5 million, or about 12.5 percent, more than state finance officials estimated in 2005 when the legislature and City-County Council increased a variety of local and regional taxes to pay for the projects. That additional money is being used to pay down the debt early as required by state law.

PRIVATE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERED IN INDIANA
October 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - City officials are considering asking a private management firm to take over operations at the Colt's Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center and possibly Conseco Fieldhouse.

The city has issued a request for information and qualifications, shopping for a firm that thinks it can run the facilities cheaper and better than the Capital Improvement Board.

City staffers said there is no decision to change management, but they wanted to learn whether a private firm could operate the facilities for less money. The answers from the firms will determine what action, if any, is taken.

The city's request asks interested firms to respond by 4 p.m. Nov. 24. Depending on what officials receive in that initial round, a formal request for proposal - in which companies could bid for management of the facilities - would be issued by the city Dec. 7, with responses due Jan. 8.

The proposal includes that the city is "interested in opportunities that will enable it to identify operational efficiencies and cost savings for the facilities, build relationships with strategic partners, maximize usage of the (convention center and stadium,) evaluate potential economies of scale in facilities operations management, and enter into a multi-year agreement with one or more respondents for the operation and management of the facilities."

While the proposal primarily focuses on the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, which are managed by the CIB, it potentially could include Conseco Fieldhouse, which is operated by the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have told the city the team can't continue to cover the fieldhouse's $15 million annual expense.

The CIB went to the General Assembly for help earlier this year when it projected a $47 million deficit for 2010.

The mayor offered $12 million in cuts to the CIB's budget while seeking an additional $32 million in revenue - $12 million from increases to the city's hotel, auto rental and admissions taxes; $10 million from an expansion of the city's sports development taxing district; $9 million in state loans during three years; and $1 million from licensing fees at Downtown parking garages.

Gov. Mitch Daniels instead pushed a plan that required $25 million in spending cuts, citing a pair of independent reviews that he said showed the CIB could achieve more savings in running the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium.

Ultimately, the legislature gave the city only the immediate authority to raise the hotel tax and delaying any votes by the City-County Council to raise auto rental and admissions taxes until 2013. It also granted the city $8 million from an expanded sports development district, $4 million in debt service savings and a three-year, $27 million state loan.

The CIB, however, recently determined it may be able to forgo that loan after making several budget cuts and resolving a complicated debt insurance issue.

CENTERPLATE RESOLVES ISSUES AT LUCAS OIL STADIUM
November 19, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - With 42 citations and $3,900 in fines, officials with Centerplate say they will move immediately to end health department concerns about conditions at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Among the actions is to set up a 24-hour hotline to respond to fans' concerns. The company also put 15 of its own food safety inspectors to work at last Sunday's game that hosted the New England Patriots.

The issue came to light in a local television report saying rodents were found at the venue.

The company has a contract worth more than $13 million to serve food at Lucas Oil Stadium, a $720 million facility that opened last year.

PLAYERS LINE UP FOR CHANCE TO MANAGE INDIANAPOLIS VENUES
January 14, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - The usual suspects and a few more have lined up to bid for management rights to Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse and the new Indianapolis convention center. The city has received qualification information from a dozen companies that seek either the entire project or portions of it. Notable among the bids is one from the consortium of Global Spectrum, AEG, Pacers Sports and Entertainment and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. Others bidding include SMG and Sodexho.

A response from Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis, which proposes partnering with locally-based Venture Real Estate and Keystone Construction Corp., was the only one besides the Pacers/ICVA/AEG/Global Spectrum consortium with a significant local connection.

The facilities are run by the Capital Improvement Board, which last year faced a projected $47 million deficit and had to seek financial assistance from the state legislature. The board already outsources some functions at the facilities - such as food services, parking and security - but handles most of the management and operation.

Last year, the CIB reduced its total operating costs from $78 million to about $51 million, the majority of which goes toward operations at the stadium and convention center. The board has budgeted about $60 million in operating expenses in 2010, but the city hopes privatizing could save millions while maintaining the quality of service at the venues.

Whether Conseco Fieldhouse also could be brought into the deal depends on ongoing talks with the Pacers. The team runs the venue and has asked for the city's help in covering those costs to break even financially. The parties are talking frequently, with the goal of reaching an agreement before the regular season ends this spring.

For the stadium and convention center, some companies' offers could include taking over the facilities' operations entirely; others would handle specific aspects, such as maintenance, computer systems or food, for both facilities.

Greg Schenkel, a spokesman for the Pacers, said his group had not determined how they would work together or how much savings could be achieved.

He added that the submission of the proposal is separate from the team's negotiations about Conseco.

Officials studying the idea will be meeting with the 12 respondents during the next two months to decide whether to issue a more formal request seeking an overall operator. None of the respondents gave details about plans and only responded to a request for qualifications.

February 24, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

The Indianapolis Colts have gone on the offense against a bill that would prevent cities and counties from adopting almost any ordinances restricting guns or ammunition, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Colts issued a statement saying they are “very concerned” that the measure will prevent the Capital Improvement Board, which operates Lucas Oil Stadium, from enforcing current restrictions against bringing guns into the facility. "While the Colts expressly forbid ticketholders from bringing firearms to games, the club must rely upon the CIB, which employs the security at Lucas Oil Stadium, to enforce that restriction," the Colts' statement said.

PLUMBING TO BE REPLACED IN LUCAS OIL STADIUM
March 17, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Lucas Oil Stadium will partially close to events for four months to replace rusted and corroded steel piping in the 3-year-old structure, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The newspaper said the problem is the latest potential construction error to beset the $720 million venue, which is the home of the Indianapolis Colts. Officials have worked to correct other issues, including a two-year struggle to repair electrical problems with four giant neon signs proclaiming "Lucas Oil Stadium" on the facility's exterior.

So far, the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority doesn't consider the repair work required since the stadium's 2008 opening to be beyond the scope of usual fixes that come with any large project, David Sease, a spokesman for the authority, told the Star.

John Klipsch, the authority's executive director, said the cause of the rust and corrosion on galvanized steel pipes hasn't been determined.

Taxpayers likely won't be responsible for the cost of replacing thousands of feet of piping, he said.

The problem was discovered several months ago after a leaky pipe in an employee break room prompted further investigation.

"This represents about 5 to 6 percent of the stadium's plumbing system," Klipsch said in a statement. "The replacement of the pipe is occurring from mid-March to the end of July and will be coordinated with the major events scheduled in the stadium."

The estimated $1 million to $2 million cost is expected to be covered by bonding, warranties and insurance, he said.

The newspaper said the galvanized pipes were installed by the Frank E. Irish Co., which abruptly closed in 2008 and is now in bankruptcy.

HOMELAND SECURITY AT WORK FOR INDY SUPERBOWL
August 11, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Homeland security officials plan to install more security cameras in Indianapolis in time for the Super Bowl, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Sixty-eight cameras are mounted in key areas throughout Downtown. By year's end, officials plan to add seven more near Lucas Oil Stadium and six or more along Georgia Street.

Gary Coons, chief of the Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security, said the cameras have caught several crimes in progress over the years. They also are mounted in visible places, he said, and so are a deterrent to crime.

"The cameras have helped with investigations, and they have helped out with getting police officers to the scene where crimes are occurring," he said. "A lot of people don't believe they are a prevention, but they really are."

The cameras cost from $3,000 to $5,000, Coons said, and are federally funded.

However, the city will have to pay for maintenance. Coons wasn't sure of that cost, saying the city is seeking proposals for a four-year contract to maintain all of the cameras.

While the cameras may boost safety for the Super Bowl, they will remain in place beyond the big game. And as more funding is available over time, Homeland Security plans to boost the amount of cameras to 100.

December 1, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

The National Football League plans to transform Indianapolis' Union Station into a high-end gathering place for special guests leading up to Super Bowl XLVI. Dubbed NFL House, the exclusive venue is a first for Super Bowls. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., the Indianapolis Star said the event space will woo NFL movers and shakers from Feb. 2 through Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5. NFL House will cater to the NFL's special guests, such as team owners and sponsors. Day passes for guests - it's invitation only - will cost $400, though the fee will be waived in some cases. The NFL is considering bringing in celebrity chefs to do cooking demonstrations and celebrity bartenders to serve drinks. Wine tastings and talks given by NFL legends also could be on the table.

February 2, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

According to the NFL, 254 seats have been installed behind one end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium for Sunday's Super Bowl. NFL officials said they anticipate no problems with the temporary seating this year after problems with some of the approximately 13,000 temporary seats at last year's Super Bowl in Arlington, Tex., left some ticketed fans with nowhere to sit. The fans who were affected by last year's troubles were offered a variety of potential remedies by the league. According to the NFL, 246 of them are scheduled to attend this year's game after accepting options that included a ticket to this Super Bowl, along with other considerations. They will sit in spots throughout the stadium. With some temporary seats in other areas of the stadium and standing-room spots in some suites, the capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium for Sunday's game will be approximately 68,000, according to the NFL, up from a normal capacity of about 63,000.

February 9, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

A popular Super Bowl Village attraction could find a home at another sporting spectacle in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star said Indianapolis Motor Speedway is exploring the possibility of adding a zip line to its Indianapolis 500 activities in May. The 800-foot zip line that stretched high above the Super Bowl Village was one of the most popular attractions during the 10-day buildup to Super Bowl XLVI. The next step, officials say, is for the Speedway to contact the Super Bowl Host Committee to get a better idea of what goes into constructing and safely running such an attraction. He added that several zip line companies have reached out in hopes of a potential partnership.

SUPER BOWL BILLS LESS THAN INDIANAPOLIS EXPECTED
April 12, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Indianapolis, Ind. - Madonna's supercharged halftime show at the Indianapolis- hosted Super Bowl set a new peak in electricity consumption at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But the Indianapolis Star said that cost - a contributor to $303,837 in extra utility bills received by the city - is one of many expenses that won't be borne by local government.

Final expenses released by the city's sports and convention board show it's on the hook for $350,000 after reimbursements by the National Football League and its associates. The amount is less, though, than the $810,000 loss the board expected to incur.

The Capital Improvement Board operates Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, host of the NFL Experience fan event. It racked up slightly more than $3 million in expenses to put on the Feb. 5 Super Bowl and related activities.

The NFL has paid $1.1 million and most of its contractors have chipped in their share of a total $2.7 million reimbursement.

CIB officials caution that a final accounting isn't yet in to determine the city/county bottom line. That will wait until the state releases information in coming weeks about hospitality-tax collections.

The CIB, which benefits from hospitality-related taxes, projected it would receive an extra $3 million in those taxes from late January and early February.

Projections indicate a net city/county loss of $1.2 million.

The CIB expenses are not the only Super Bowl-related government costs.

Chief Financial Officer Dan Huge is just beginning to pore over a $3.9 million invoice submitted by the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety.

The CIB's Super Bowl budget included up to $4 million to reimburse Public Safety for overtime, equipment, supplies and fuel.

CIB officials had long projected the board would spend more to help host the Super Bowl than it would get back. Once the final figures on tax revenue come in, the CIB plans to absorb any excess Super Bowl-related costs into its regular budget or dip into operating reserves.

To city leaders and convention industry insiders, the long-term benefits made the investment worthwhile. The Super Bowl boosted Indianapolis' image, they said, and gave the city a platform to prove it can pull off major events.

"The numbers really speak for themselves," CIB President Ann Lathrop said of the lower-than-projected expenses. She credited aggressive planning and cost-monitoring.

Huge said the CIB's expenses, except for the pending public safety bill, were about $1 million less than expected.

One big reason: The NFL directly paid a stagehands union for workers involved in Madonna's halftime show. Otherwise, the CIB would have covered that expense and then submitted it to the NFL for reimbursement.

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