Ozdemir's disinformation agents announced the construction of a new downtown hotel by the Indy Eleven owner would be a part of an expanded Professional Sports Development Area ("PSDA"), a TIF-like state taxing district that allows Marion County to syphon off tens of millions of state income and sales tax dollars, hotel taxes and local income taxes annually to pay for the Capital Improvement Board's sports palaces and convention center. The paid lobbyists for this shadowy character claim state taxpayers won't be on the hook for a dime of the costs of building the arena; rather, it will be up to the team's owner and the CIB to figure out what happens when the revenues generated from the stadium prove insufficient to pay for it.
Incredibly, the worthless members of this committee asked no questions of Indy Eleven's Peter Wilt about his disastrous Toyota Arena in Chicago's Bridgeview community, which left taxpayers up their reeling from higher taxes when the costly new arena came nowhere close to generating the revenues promised. Wilt was fired by the Chicago Fire, just one of a handful of successive jobs he's held for short periods of time during his checkered history in the professional soccer arena. The owner's representatives claim the new arena, which will hold 18,500 fans, will generate ticket sales from an average paid attendance of 16,500. It claimed average attendance last year of about 10,400. Faced with reports by this blog only that many of those tickets were comped, the team finally conceded it gave away 6% to 8% of those tickets last year. My guess is the number is even higher than that, but truth-telling isn't a virtue of the folks behind this latest stadium heist.
Under the Indy Eleven's proposal, the PSDA could capture an additional $5 million a year in state tax revenues to pay debt service on the new soccer arena. Ticket revenues from the new new arena would have to be at least $50 million to hit the $5 million figure. As an IBJ story this morning notes, a legislative fiscal analysis suggests ticket sales at the new arena would generate at most $519,000 a year. Faced with this huge shortfall, the team's owner throws in this crap about building a new hotel downtown that will augment the revenue shortfall. How generous of Mr. Ozdemir. What we want to know is how much money you've spread around the Indiana State House and the City-County Building to get our elected officials to turn their backs on us and put so much of our public dollars in the pockets of someone we know nothing about. And what little we've learned about his shady ways from his former business partner, no honest lawmaker would cast a vote in favor of any project for which he came to the State House seeking public financing. Then again, Mr. Ozdemir didn't even have to make an appearance. His paid hustlers showed up to do his dirty work for him.
UPDATE: The Star has some information on a KSM Consulting study given to lawmakers this morning the team says supports its contention the stadium will generate sufficient ticket sale revenues to pay for the stadium. The study assumes the arena will host 66 events a year, including 15 professional women soccer team games and ten concerts. The ticket prices upon which those estimates are based are laughable:
- Indy Eleven: 16,500 at $29.50.
- Women's professional soccer: 8,500 at $17
- Concerts: 10,000 at $55