INDIANAPOLIS – The Capital Improvement Board has approved a plan to share the cost of two additional luxury suites at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Under the proposal, the CIB will pay up to $2 million to add the suites on the upper level. The Colts will take care of any costs exceeding $2 million. The plan will also convert two food pantries into new kitchens for the new suites.
The Colts will also pay to install two additional digital billboards at the stadium similar to ones added in 2011 for advertising and promotional purposes.
“Having the facility at a top-notch level helps us get other events,” said CIB President, Ann Lathrop. “Not just Colts games.”
The new agreement comes soon after the county admissions tax was raised from 6 percent to 10 percent. That tax will be collected on Colts ticket sales and other events.
Kelly Shoemaker said she’s a Colts fan, but opposes using tax dollars to build the new suites.
“As soon as you give the city or the state more money, what do they do? They want more money,” she said.
Arthur Jordan sees it differently.
“When you get guys that are willing to pay ‘X’ amount of dollars for a private suite, they’re obviously going to spend here in the city and that’s going to help the economy,” he said.
Although the Colts collect all game day revenue, Lathrop said investing in the new suites will benefit the city and the CIB all year.
“There are conventions that use the facility,” Lathrop said. “We just had a wonderful regional basketball game last weekend that was phenomenally attended.”
Lathrop also says the CIB has the money to spend. The $75 million operating budget is in the black. The CIB has $4.5 million to invest in capital improvement projects. And the 10-percent admission tax is expected to generate $4 million more than the 6-percent tax did last year.
The exact cost and construction timeline are not yet known for the new suites.
There is also room for even further expansion.
When Lucas Oil Stadium was built, construction crews left room for six additional suites that have not been finished. After these two new suites are completed, there will be room for four more in the future.
The new agreement also settled a long dispute between the Colts and the CIB about how to divide concession costs around the stadium. That formula will remain in place through 2023, which is the duration of the current contract with the concession provider.