This might be the worst of all taxpayer-funded bailouts: the city of Indianapolis will pay at least $33 million to keep the Pacers for the next three years — not even with a new arena, but just to maintain the status quo.
Keep in mind the Pacers are playing in Conseco Fieldhouse rent-free. Keep in mind the building is only 11 years old. And keep in mind they signed a contract to play there through 2019.
It's apparently not good enough any more. The Pacers have been grumbling about the costs of playing in Indianapolis, and have threatened to pack up and move if they don't get some more cash for the city. It's a ransom, plain and simple.
The city caved, and taxpayers are on the hook for $10 million annually for the next three years. That's more than half of the team's operating costs. And if that's not enough, they're going to chip in at least $3.5 million for improvements to the arena.
It's clear that Indianapolis needs the Pacers more than the Pacers need Indianapolis. But usually when a team holds a city hostage, they at least toss them a bone: a shiny new arena, or an extension of their contract with the venue. Not here. This is just a blatant cash grab by the Pacers, taking millions of dollars just to agree to live up to the terms of the deal they happily signed.
Pacers getting $33.5 million to stay [Indianapolis Star]