So, Mr. Irsay wants the City of Indianapolis to shell out some money to improve the RCA Dome, so that he makes more money. Either that, or the Indianapolis Colts will take a drive down the interstate, just as the Baltimore Colts did back in the early 80s.
I can't say I blame him for asking. So many cities give the moon. City officials always cite jobs, but are also always certain to insist that the prestige of the city would dive if a major sports team left.
I'm a big sports fan, but I'm also a big fan of classic and exotic automobiles. I drive a 1997 Saturn, which is neither of these things, but it sure gets me from-A-to-B. It's a reliable car, and gets very good fuel economy.
Just the same, I'm thinking that I'd like to have a Rolls-Royce... and a Ferrari... and a Maserati. These would look really good in my driveway, and I would look and feel good driving them.
I'm thinking that I'd like everyone on my block to pay for these luxury automobiles. Heck- it will improve the prestige of my neighborhood if out-of-towners were to drive down my street and see the Rolls. My neighbors will enjoy the benefit of this enhanced pretige, and it will only cost them each a little bit. They'll hardly notice how much it is.
I'm even thinking that about 10 to 12 times a year, I will allow my neighbors to take a spin with me in the Rolls or the Maserati. They can pay me admission to ride in my car, getting the direct benefit of having purchased the cars for me. Sometimes they can even ride shotgun. Of course, you don't always get to sit on the 50-yard line, so sometimes, my neighbors will have to ride in the trunk. Heck, though- the ticket are almost half as expensive!
Maybe they can't afford the price of tickets for the whole family to ride. Well, they can stand on the sidewalk and watch as I drive by with those who can afford the price of admission. Still- they're getting the enormous benefit of having created a sense of civic pride and pretige for our neighborhood, thanks to my cars. Of course, I'll only let them stand on the sidewalk if I've sold out the admissions to all of the seats, including the trunk. I'm not kind of idiot who is going to let people watch for free from the sidewalk when I have empty seats.
Man, that Irsay guy is a genius! After all, you won't be subsidizing my desire to have exotic cars. But you will seriously consider subsidizing the Colts. Is it for the enormous benefits you will derive?
As for the prestige- does anyone think badly of Los Angeles because the Rams left? Does anybody look down their nose at Houston because the Oilers left? Cleveland and the Browns? No. People have plenty of other good reason for looking down on these cities, the departure of an NFL franchise is the least of the reasons.
I look down my nose on cities that have socialized football. There is no prestige or honor in creating as vapid an elite as that.