SBD/Issue 152/Facilities & Venues

Colts Owner Refusing Calls To Renegotiate Team's Stadium Lease

Irsay Does Not Believe Colts
Should Pay More For Stadium
Colts Owner Jim Irsay is "refusing calls to renegotiate his team's stadium lease with the city, firing back at critics who suggest the Colts should foot more of the bill for Lucas Oil Stadium," according to a front-page piece by Robert Annis of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The Colts and the city of Indianapolis "spent more than four years working out lease terms" for the $720M stadium, and Irsay this weekend took a "firm stand against calls for the Colts organization to kick in as much as $5[M] extra for operating costs to help bail out the city's ailing" Capital Improvement Board (CIB). Irsay: "I'm not going to renegotiate. That's the bottom line. All we did was negotiate in good faith. We've done everything we can to have a great organization. We've lived up to our part. We've exceeded our part." Irsay added, "What you're saying is, 'Hey, we worked on this thing. Our word is good. We stand behind it.' That's what a partnership is about. It would be very hard to recruit businesses here if they thought as soon as they worked on a lengthy, comprehensive deal for 25 years or more, that four or five months later people would be talking about ... renegotiating." Irsay: "In other words, we'll let you know what we want, when we want it. What you signed means nothing." Meanwhile, Irsay said that the CIB's problems "aren't unexpected." Irsay: "That's like me drafting all these players this week and later saying, 'I didn't know I was going to have to sign them, too.'" Annis notes Indiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would give the Indianapolis-Marion City-County Council the authority to "raise local auto rental, ticket, innkeepers and alcohol taxes to plug the CIB's deficit." Irsay "opposes a potential ticket tax hike." Irsay: "Half the teams do not have a ticket tax in our league. We already have a 6[%] ticket tax. It's already onerous in a small market" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/27).

TRAINING DAYS: Colts President Bill Polian Friday said that the team "will return" to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, for training camp for the 11th straight year. The decision to return comes after the city of Anderson, Indiana, "attempted to lure the team back" to Anderson Univ., where the Colts trained from '84-98 (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/25).

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