Twelve-hundred bucks and a little clout will get you a pair of tickets to Super Bowl XLI.
The Indianapolis Colts have given state politicians, including legislators, congressmen and local officials around Indianapolis, the chance to cut in front of season-ticket holders who didn't get a change to buy tickets to the Feb. 4 game in Miami.
An e-mail from the team late Thursday offered each lawmaker the chance to purchase a pair of tickets at the face value of $600 apiece . . .
Gov. Mitch Daniels on Friday told reporters he will be in Miami for Super Bowl weekend and is trying to set up a reception that would allow him to network with business leaders interested in bringing jobs to Indiana. The governor said he didn't know if he will be going to the game as a guest of the team or if he'll have to shell out for tickets.
House Speaker Pat Bauer told WTHR's Kevin Rader yesterday he couldn't afford to go to the game. He figured the total cost of the trip to be at least $3,000--the tickets being $1,200 of that cost. My understanding is this same ticket offer was extended to Indianapolis' city-county council members. Those who take advantage of the deal will no doubt defend the offer because they had to pay face value for the tickets. The reality is they are being offered a benefit not extended to the general public, or even the Colts' own ticket holders. Without the offer, lawmakers would have to purchase the tickets for the price they are fetching from scalpers, which runs into the thousands of dollars. So in that sense, the offer is really a gift to lawmakers worth potentailly thousands of dollars. Making matters worse is the timing of the gift while legislation is currently making its way through the legislature to provide unprecedented income and sales tax breaks for NFL team owners participating in a Super Bowl game to enduce the NFL to select Indianpolis as the site of the 2011 Super Bowl.
My fear is that some unscrupulous lawmakers will use the chance offer to make money off the tickets. They could purchase the tickets for face value, and then turn around and triple their money by scalping the tickets. If you think that would be beneath lawmakers, think again. I've heard several stories in the past of lobbyists giving Colts or Pacers tickets to legislators, only to later learn they were scalped for more money. I specifically recall a trade group giving one legislator two courtside tickets to a Pacers game a number of years ago. When the lobbyist for the trade association arrived at the game, there were two other men sitting in the seats the lobbyist had given to the legislator. When the lobbyist ask the two men where they got their tickets, they told him they had purchased them from some guy in a bar in Anderson .