Even by dismal NFL standards, the Colts' stadium deal is fucking bullshit. There's Jerry Richardson using the same extortion mechanics behind public financing to secure "private" construction financing via Personal Seat Licenses, and then there's the Indianapolis Colts just screwing the whole goddamn state of Indiana right through their pleated pants.
Lucas Oil Stadium was completed and opened in 2008 with a final construction bill of $720 million, $620 million of which was forked over by Indiana, the city of Indianapolis, and the surrounding counties. The funds were raised, as they usually are, via a bunch of tax increases nominally targeted at the tourism industry: on food and beverage sales, rental cars, hotel bookings, and admission fees.
The laughably-named Capital Improvement Board (CIB), in charge of managing Lucas Oil Stadium (and the word "management" is used loosely, here, because "operating as a giant public-cash-vacuum designed to limit the exposure of an NFL franchise's billionaire owner to the costs of operating his team's venue" is probably not a chapter sub-heading in any management book not written by Jim Irsay) came back to the Indiana General Assembly with the threat that the stadium would have to be closed if $47 million in additional public funds couldn't be allocated for just the daily operation of that obscenity of a venue. This was a straight-up taxpayer-funded bailout, the result of wildly incompetent management and financial forecasting by CIB.
Want more evidence of CIB's hysterical incompetence at financial management? In 2008 they had to borrow another $17 million in public funds to pay down their end of the insanely bad bets they made on the market in the form of credit default swaps on subprime mortgage bonds. Because that's what you want your "management" board doing: betting vast sums in excess of their liquid capital on the stability of subprime mortgage bonds.
So where does this leave the good people of Indianapolis and, really, Indiana? Holding the tab for nearly $700 million in costs associated with the construction and management of Lucas Oil Stadium, while the team's owner soaks up so much money he could credibly explain away carrying more than $29,000 in cash on his person when he was busted with a briefcase full of Schedule IV drugs.
But, never mind, the Colts do pay rent for the use of Lucas Oil Stadium, in the downright-farcical amount of $250,000 a year. Seems fair! With rental income like that, the good people of Indianapolis can look forward to earning back their investment in only 200 years or so.
Noon — Big Ten Network — Women's College Basketball: Iowa (20) @ Rutgers (16)
Another day, another match-up of ranked women's basketball teams. Give it a try, I guess.
12:30 p.m. — FOX Sports 1 — FA Cup Soccer: Arsenal vs. Hull City
Gotta think Arsenal will kick the shit out of Hull City today.
1 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Mavericks @ Cavaliers
The Mavericks are just so, so damn good, while the Cavaliers are in a heap of trouble right now with LeBron out and their defense in complete disarray. This is a meaningful game – the Mavs need to keep pace in the West and the Cavs need to string together some wins to have much of a chance at breaking into the top four in the East. This should be a good one.
1 p.m. — ESPN3 — Women's College Basketball: Notre Dame (4) @ Syracuse (21)
I know absolutely nothing about women's college basketball. They could be playing on camelback for all I know.
4:30 p.m. — CBS — Men's College Basketball: UNLV @ Kansas (13)
UNLV are unranked, but they've already beaten #3 Arizona this season, and they might give Kansas a game. Worth checking out.
7:30 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Bucks @ Knicks
The Knicks have officially entered whatever zone of misery included the Lakers earlier in the season. Melo is out indefinitely, Derek Fisher is very obviously in over his head as a head coach, and they were absolutely massacred at home in their last game, by the Detroit Pistons. Utter futility brought on by ass-backwards basketball strategy is what made the Lakers a joy to watch, and the Knicks are about there. They do nothing well, and their clumsy, wrong-headed insistence upon stuffing their roster into the Triangle offense makes every outing an elaborate performance of self-sabotage. It's a genuine hoot.
8 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Raptors @ Suns
The Raptors are so damn good. And the Suns are a lot of fun to watch, especially when whichever of the Morris twins is the awesome one is knocking down his perimeter shots and stretching out the defense. Eventually they'll drop out of the West's 8th seed, but that'll have more to do with Oklahoma City getting healthy than any particular weakness in their roster or style of play. Never mind, they can be a non-playoff team and also one of the best shows in basketball, and this should be a great game.
1 p.m. — USA — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The regular all-day SVU marathon for you Christopher Meloni fans.
1 p.m. — We TV — Roseanne
Here's a few hours of good comedy to get you through the Cincinnati/Indianapolis game.
1 p.m. — LOGO TV — The Golden Girls
A four-hour marathon should cover the early game from start to finish.
2 p.m. — BBC America — Top Gear
Back-to-back episodes will cover you through all but the first hour of the early game.
3:30 p.m. — FXX — The Simpsons
FXX is busting out an out-of-nowhere selection of "Treehouse of Horror" episodes that includes the wonderful I and II and a handful of miserable later-season bullcrap.
12:54 p.m. — Comedy Central — Major League
Major League is damn hard to turn off if you come across it while flipping channels. It's hard not to wish they'd cast someone other than Tom Berenger in the lead role, though.
1 p.m. — MTV — Elf
My wife loves the hell out of this movie. That's the very best thing I can say for it.
1:30 p.m. — VH-1 — White Men Can't Jump
What will happen is a bunch of turds will leap into the comments to talk about what a piece of crap this movie is. Those people are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The script is good, all the characters have great chemistry, and most of the basketball action is great to watch, even while some of it is so obviously choreographed. It's a good movie! It just is.
2 p.m. — TNT — Saving Private Ryan
This is exceedingly well-made and well-acted war porn. Look how realistically we have depicted soldiers being blown to bits and killed in every possible way! Yuck.
2 p.m. — FX — Zombieland
Two days in a row! What a boon for fans of ho-hum teen romantic comedies featuring one spectacular cameo.
2:15 p.m. — TBS — Spider-Man
That winkingly-corny vibe that worked well enough in this movie eventually dragged this franchise straight to hell, but this one is pretty good. Willem Defoe is a terrific villain.
3:30 p.m. — TVGN — Kindergarten Cop
There's no denying it: this movie works. It's ridiculous, but it works.
5 p.m. — LOGO TV — Heathers
Christian Slater is good to watch in this, for the one time in his entire career. Heathers is a cool, dark-ass movie.
5:10 p.m. — SPIKE — 300
Takes the icky fetishization of violence of Braveheart and spins it up into something like a religion, which I suppose makes sense in the context of the nightmare that was Sparta. It's got some cool-ass sequences, though.
5:15 p.m. — IFC — No Country for Old Men
Certainly the best movie based upon a Cormac McCarthy book, and adheres pretty closely to the novel.
5:30 p.m. — AMC — Under Siege
AMC is doing some kind of Steven Seagal marathon, which is ridiculous. The best part of this movie, by far, is Tommy Lee Jones in the role of the villain. As in all other roles, he's great.
5:45 p.m. — TNT — The Bourne Identity
Did it seem to anyone else like this series lost 100% of its spark in the transition from Doug Liman to Paul Greengrass? This movie has all of the bananas action of the sequels, plus, you know, some personality. It's the best of the three Jason Bourne movies by a mile.
6 p.m. — Sundance — The Lost Boys
This movie gets an awful lot of play on television, for whatever reason. It's great to watch, but maybe someone ought to alert Sundance that there are, you know, lots of other movies, too.
8 p.m. — AMC — Gladiator
This exists, and is great.
Enjoy your Sunday, you. Yes, you. YOU.