Colts’ Stadium Funding: A Financial Fumble?

Funding Strategies and Economic Implications

Proposed Funding Sources

  1. Mayor Bart Peterson’s Plan:


    • Increase in car rental, innkeeper, and admissions taxes in er County.
    • Annual gambling profits estimated at $46 million from 2,500 pull-tab gambling machines in downtown Indianapolis.
  2. Regional Republican Proposals:
    • Rep. Luke Messer suggests diverting $30 million annually from 2,500 slot machines at local horse tracks.
    • State Rep. Michael Murphy’s plan would allocate $48 million annually to Indianapolis from slot machine profits, with a different profit-sharing structure.

Critical Issues with Current Proposals

  1. Stadium Obsolescence:
    • The risk of constructing a stadium that may not meet future NFL requirements, potentially rendering it obsolete.
    • The need for a guarantee that the stadium will remain valuable for at least 50 years to justify the investment.
  2. Unequal Treatment of Businesses:
    • Subsidization of wealthy team owners at the expense of smaller or more deserving local businesses.
    • Unfair competitive advantage given to the Colts by taxing other entities like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is self-funded.
  3. Financial Burden on Residents:


    • Each citizen potentially accruing over $1,000 in debt for a facility used predominantly for eight regular-season games annually.
    • The risk of residents covering any shortfalls if gambling revenue projections are not met.

The RCA Dome: Is a New Stadium Necessary?

The RCA Dome, despite being the smallest in the league with a seating capacity of 57,900, has served its purpose adequately. The main issue lies not in its size but in the revenue-sharing model of the NFL, where owners retain earnings from private luxury suites. Colts owner Jim Irsay, with 104 suites a