Thursday, January 5, 2012

CIB and NFL Sign Lucas Oil Stadium Agreement For Super Bowl Season

On December 30, 2011, the Capital Improvements Board and the National Football League signed off on their formal agreement regarding use of Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2012 Super Bowl. 

I was provided a copy of that agreement in response to an open records request of the CIB.  I have posted the agreement on google docs and it can be reviewed here.

This is a lengthy document and it is going to take me a lot longer to absorb its contents and portents.  What did catch my eye, though, was the light it manages to shed on the original bid by the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL.  The Host Committee was set up, I am firmly convinced, to act a shell to protect the deal from the prying eyes of the taxpaying public.  They have continued to operate as they see fit, while holding to themselves all of those pesky details, like how much the taxpayers have been put on the hook.  The Host Committee called the shots on the Super Bowl ordinance that will serve to protect the NFL copyrights, and to give one person sole power to waive a number of our zoning laws that otherwise require a public hearing on a variance petition.

The CIB/NFL agreement is, to my reading of it, not the entire agreement between the City or State with the NFL, but revolves exclusively around the LOS environment.  However, the agreement does capture some of the original NFL minimum specifications for bidding Host Committees, some of the original bid offered by the Indy Host Committee, and from time to time the document's wording  allude to other promises made, but not fully fleshed out in the CIB/NFL agreement.

Before I launch into those items I see from the original bid, let me also note that this agreement does not tell us if these items have been eliminated from final agreements with the Host Committee, or if they are not pertinent to the CIB and LOS and survive in another form with another NFL agreement.  It is clear that some parts of the original bid are not included for reference in the appendix containing the bulk of the information about the original bid.  For instance, there is reference on page 64 of the pdf to a section of the bid documents entitled "Government Guarantees".  As you can imagine, I have scoured the entire 176 pages for that section.  It is not included.

So, here is a litany of items that caught my eye regarding what sorts of things the Host Committee offered. 

All ticket revenues go to the NFL, who also get to set ticket prices.  "All Super Bowl and Super Bowl-related event tickets will be exempt from sales, amusement, or entertainment taxes, and other surcharge obligations." (p 64)

The Host Committee may purchase 750 tickets, but cannot resell them for more than face value.

85% of all suites have been turned over to the NFL.  (p 67)  The NFL will have exclusive use of all club seats.  (p 64)

"Per the Host Committee Agreement, police and fire services will be provided at no expense to NFL or Licensor [the CIB].  Licensor and NFL acknowledge and agree that per the Host Committee Agreement neither party shall be responsible for the costs and expenses, if any, related to police and fire services for Super Bowl Events in accordance with the above-referenced Security Plan."  (p 13)

Parking is strikingly incomplete in this document.  There is reference in the original specifications for bidders that the NFL required at least 35,000 parking spaces within one mile of LOS, provided free of charge.  The Host Committee bid wording suggests that it will meet the requirements, but seem to say that all of the spaces will not be within the mile perimeter requested.  They also make the argument that due to the hotels being connected by enclosed corridor to LOS, about 14,000 "of the NFL's most important guests may not require parking."  (pp 55 & 60)

Page 68 of the pdf has a number of offerings by the Host Committee, including a "fully funded $25 million budget", hosting for the NFL a party for 3,000 members of the media, and "providing key cards branded with the Super Bowl logo for all downtown hotel properties and team hotels."

This is one of the sections of the bid that have been crossed out.  At a minimum that means it is not included as part of the CIB/NFL agreement - not that it has been removed from the Host Committee agreement with the NFL.

Page 158 of the pdf also has a couple of interesting allusions to the Host Committee Agreement.  In item 1 it says "In accordance with the terms of the Host Committee Agreement, the Host Committee shall make available to NFL at no charge up to 24,000 sq. ft. of storage space in tents outside the Stadium".  And, item 4 says "In accordance with the terms of the Host Committee Agreement, the Host Committee shall use its reasonable efforts to request the City enforce the prohibition during the Super Bowl Game and the Super Bowl Events of all temporary vendor licensing authorized by local governmental authorities for the area within one mile radius of the Stadium property boundaries."  That would be the Super Bowl ordinance provisions for Clean Zones and the anticipated 'rocket docket'.  The rocket docket will have a Superior Court Judge on call 24 hours a day to deal with those cited by the City's code enforcement and police officers for violating the Super Bowl ordinance.

There is much more in this agreement, but it will take time to digest and report on it all.  Meanwhile, have a look for yourself.  The public has been kept in the dark as to the costs to our tax coffers for all of this.  I'll just remind everyone that the 2012 budget required a $40 million cash infusion from the Consolidated Downtown TIF district in order to be balanced.  Word is that the hole will be even bigger for the 2013 budget, but all the slush funds will have been drained by then.  So, enjoy the party - its going to be one doozie of a hangover.


  1. How is it legal to ignore taxes?

  2. "The Host Committee was set up, I am firmly convinced, to act a shell to protect the deal from the prying eyes of the taxpaying public." - You and me both. Just more of the Orwellian nature of today's government - talk about transparency, while never providing it. I would still like to know how little of that private $25 million dollar extortion fund has been provided.

    By the way, shouldn't an agreement that includes government guarantees be provided to the public regardless of how much they might protest that the agreement is between two private parties?

    Also, it would seem that anyone "digesting" this putrid document might be in for a long hospital stay.

  3. Thanks for following this.

    Perhaps you, Gary Welch, Paul Ogden, and IUPUI's SPEA could pool your work to do a real objective analysis of the Super Bowl's economic impact on Indianapolis and the financial effectiveness of the CIB/ICVA business model over the years with an eye on specific suggestions for improvement.

    How Much Is the Superbowl Costing Indianapolis and Indiana Taxpayers?

  4. What do you know of in your political history that trumps this stuff? Mayor Daley in Chicago? Huey Long in Louisiana? Where is there a greater lacking of transparency and serving of the "players" versus taxpayers?

    And, I'm talking about BOTH parties in this town.

    I'm down to voting for the least corrupt candidate per office, regardless of party (and they usually lose).

    People: If we don't participate and look further out than immediate promises made, we're toast and are sentencing our children to economic destitution and street turmoil that countries like Argentina and Chile had to emerge from.

    HERE: In the United States of America.

    Work and vote for candidates with common sense. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

    There's a reason it makes no sense to you to host the Super Bowl while our libraries have reduced hours.