The experience of game day at Lucas Oil Stadium, there is nothing like it, but fewer fans could be taking in the game, because it could cost a bit more to buy tickets.
Rick Laney is a Colts season ticket holder.
“The best that anyone in the NFL could want as a fan,” said Laney.
He has been a fan for 20 years.
“As I look at it, if you spend roughly on four season tickets, you spend about $1,000 per seat per year, we put in about $4,000 to $5,000 back in the economy downtown as well,” said Laney.
But Laney’s game day experience could be changing. City County officials could vote to raise ticket prices for, not only the Colts, but for the Pacers and Indians too.
Right now, the taxes on tickets to one of Indy’s three professional sports teams is 6 percent. If the user fee gets the go-ahead that number jumps to 10 percent. Councilor Ben Hunter said that 4 percent increase will go a long way.
“The Pacers, the Colts are great organizations,” said Hunter. “They bring great life to the city and we want them to continue to thrive, but at the same time, 29 councilors have to make the tough decision of how you balance that within the realm of public safety.”
In the first year it is projected the tax will generate $6 million. That money would be used for public safety. After that, 25 percent goes to the Department of Public Safety, the rest to the Capital Improvement Board.
“One thing we know for sure, if we do not have a safe city it is not going to be a viable city,” said Hunter. “These are the issues that we are dealt with.”
What some fans, like Blue Crew regular Carolyn McMahon, fear is that higher ticket prices will mean empty Lucas Oil Stadium seats. McMahon fears that could lead to games getting blacked out, and her not being able to watch the game at her place.
“I would be really pissed off,” said McMahon. “Tax payers paid for a lot of this and at some point people are just going to say, ‘This is too greedy.’ What about the fans? They are nothing without the fans and there is a potential backlash I think.”
This measure would increase ticket prices for the Colts, Pacers and Indians, but does not touch high school athletics or not-for-profits.
The pressure to get something done is ramping up, the user fee has to be signed by the mayor by March 1, or it is not happening. It now goes before the full council for a vote. Members of the Colts organization have already said they will not be raising ticket prices for the upcoming football season.