Proposed “user fee” could increase the cost of Colts tickets

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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.

9 comments

  • Patti

    Let me get this straight: I have to pay for the ticket, pay taxes on the ticket, and now pay a fee to USE the ticket? You claim it's about public safety, but then plan to give 75% of the money to the CIB! Mr. Mayor, et al.: We are SICK of this crap!

  • RedStateVet

    User Fee? Is this the Obama School of Obfuscation? It's a tax. I'm just happy I can avoid this by not attending any sporting events in Marion County.

  • Paul G

    Yes, I bought season tickets (cheap seats) to the Colts back when they sucked and have kept them through this great run. My initial ticket cost back then was $15 dollars per seat, now it is $38 per seat. This tax will probably inch them over $40 for 600 level nosebleeds in the endzone. It may be the tipping point where I say, "screw it, my flat screen TV has a better view, the beer is colder and cheaper in my fridge, and that 2.5 hour drive to spend my money in Indy is just not worth it anymore" Enjoy your tax Indy.

  • DUH

    What should happen is the Colts, Pacers, Indians pay for the extra security that the City & tax payers are currently footing the bill for. Open up the existing contracts and negotiate that.

  • Jeff

    Is there an independent study showing that Colts, Pacers, and Indians events are resulting in higher levels of crime? Really? These are the events with 80%+ local attendees. What about all of the other events at LOS, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Victory Field? I don't mind paying if these specific team events are causing law enforcement to spend more than a reasonable budget would expect. If there is no objective justification for targeting these 3 teams, please don't put this burden onto local sports fans just because you can. Tax the source that is truly causing the extra expense. If you drive costs for Colts, Pacers, and Indians high enough, fans will stay at home and teams will leave. Will we be better off if that happens?

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