Monday, July 12, 2010
Pacers Able to Bamboozle Mayor into Deal
By Jon E. Easter
A few weeks ago, I heard an interview with Mayor Ballard from WIBC's Morning News. He was talking about the difficulty in the negotiations with the Indiana Pacers to keep them in town. One thing he said made me realize that the Pacers were going to be in Indiana...one way or another.
Ballard addressed the possibility of the Pacers moving and the economic impact of that move. He said that people were talking about there being no places for the Pacers to go in this economy. "There are places out there, trust me," said Ballard. Of course, he didn't offer any specifics. That's because there has never been an exit strategy for the Pacers. The fix was in, and the city's pocketbook has always been open. The Simons had no deal in hand, and I bet dollars to doughnuts they never had many options in this economy.
The city could have played harder hard ball.
In the end, the Simons just got thrown a blue and gold parachute courtesy of the taxpayers. A three year deal where taxpayers pay, according to the Star, at least $33.5 million to keep NBA basketball in the city. The club will be on the hook for all they owe the CIB if they move prior to 2019.
The city points out that it didn't give the Pacers everything they wanted, but I say that will likely be in the next deal. The Pacers couldn't live up to the terms of the one that they just wiggled out of. Just go ahead and mark it down, after three years they will be back hat-in-hand asking for more.
All this current deal does is prolong NBA basketball mediocrity for another three years here in this city. The team shows little potential for improvement. A change in leadership is needed before what used to be the NBA's classiest franchise prior to the brawl in Detroit will return to the NBA's elite.
As far as things go here, it's another example of Mayor Ballard breaking his promise to not ask for any more taxpayer money. It's also at least $33.5 million that won't go to various other city needs.