Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nickeolodeon Teams With the NFL to Create a Stadium Propaganda Cartoon Show

This might be the sleaziest idea for a television ever conceived. It's a show about how great NFL stadiums are!

I'm not kidding. USAToday has the story (via tvtattle):
The NFL announced a new partnership with Nickelodeon on Monday in which the two companies will create a new animated series based on the NFL.
"This new series combines fantasy, sports, game play, team work, competition and the age old theme of good vs. evil, under one compelling new narrative," Nicktoons general manager Keith Dawkins said.

The series, "Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core," will follow 10-year-old characters Ishmael as he attempts to save humanity when he learns the 32 NFL stadiums hold a benevolent life force that is under attack.
NFL stadiums hold a benevolent life force that is under attack?

The stadiums?

The stadiums.

The stadiums that cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year -- including those of us who could not give less of a shit about this rotten "sporting event"? Let's just take a look at one stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Indianapolis Colts play. Back in 2005, they made a deal with Indianapolis to keep the Colts in that fair city, and to build them a new stadium to replace the RCA Dome. How the deal was to be paid for:
• Hotel taxes: Marion County hotel tax increases to 9 percent from 6 percent. (This is in addition to the 6 percent state sales tax.)

• Car rental taxes: Marion County car rental tax doubles, to 4 percent.

• Restaurant taxes: Marion County doubles its food and beverage tax, to 2 percent. Meanwhile, neighboring suburban counties were asked to implement 1 percent restaurant taxes, giving half to the stadium and keeping the other half.

• Admissions tax: This tax, charged on Colts tickets, increases to 6 percent from 5 percent.
Paying more to spend the night in a hotel (and no, not everyone who stays in a hotel is from out of town), to eat out, to rent a car -- and not just in Marion, the county that is plagued by having an NFL team! No, surrounding counties were "asked" (really? they got to choose if they wanted to implement the tax?) to also increase their taxes so that the fabulously wealthy owners of a a football team could be bribed to not move to effing Los Angeles California.

Then, of course, the cost of the stadium has exceeded the estimates of the original deal. This happens a lot with stadiums, as it turns out.
The costs of operating Lucas Oil Stadium could leave the city with a budget hole twice as large as earlier projected.

Officials at the Capital Improvement Board, which operates the city's stadiums and convention center, plan to draw $25 million from reserves this year and in 2009, $20 million of which will go to higher stadium operating costs.

Previous estimates put the extra costs of running the new stadium at about $10 million. Lucas Oil Stadium, at 1.8 million square feet, is nearly double the size of the soon-to-be-imploded RCA Dome, so its higher operating costs aren't surprising. It needs more people to work on its cleaning crews, with its food vendors and in parking. Its water and electricity costs are higher, too. CIB officials weren't able to provide numbers on how many more game-day workers are needed, but the full-time staff has increased by 52 employees.

With the higher costs, CIB budgets for this year and next show the agency's operating fund balance dwindling to $5.6 million next year.

Officials anticipate that an expanded Indiana Convention Center - expected by late 2010 - and the new business it attracts eventually will help cover the CIB's operating costs.

But if those new revenues fall short, the CIB's reserves could be wiped out.

CIB Chairman Bob Grand said he is concerned about the rapid depletion of reserves and how the CIB will cover expenses in 2010. Two years ago, CIB officials said they were confident a solution would be found, but the size of the projected gap has only widened.

"We're making guesses until we have actual numbers," Grand said. "We're bleeding cash right now, absolutely."
Bleeding cash and "deep in debt."
Financial and political experts said Monday that Lucas Oil Stadium is running a significant operating deficit in its first year.

The stadium is believed to be between $20 million and $35 million in the red, but political leaders said they want to see the actual numbers before taking any action, 6News' Rick Hightower reported.

The construction of the building was funded by taxpayers in Marion and surrounding counties with a food and beverage tax.
[Noblesville Republican Senator Luke] Kenley said lawmakers expected some shortfall, but not an estimated $20 million. He and others want to see the real numbers before reacting.
Wait -- they expected a shortfall? They expected to not have the money to cover the deal, yet they made the deal anyway?

Are they effing serious? Read that again. This is a state lawmaker admitting that the government made a deal with the Colts (runners-up for last year's "super" bowl) to build a stadium, and they expected there would not be enough money to pay for it?

And this was before the recession that no one predicted!

Goddammit I hate professional sports and this is exactly why. We are all paying to finance these stadiums and the costs keep going up up up on every single one of them.

Of course, the head of the government organization charged with running the stadium wanted a "bailout" to prevent the stadium closing.
The head of the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Broad said Friday that if a deal isn't reached on a $47 million bailout bill it's possible Lucas Oil Stadium may close.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Thursday that would raise several taxes, including those on alcohol statewide, restaurant meals and hotel stays in Marion County and tickets to sporting events in Indianapolis to bail out the organization that manages the city's professional sports facilities.
You'll note that in the original deal it was Marion county that got hit with most of the tax hikes. For the "bailout," they want to extend some of those tax hikes to the entire state.

As it was, the government cut arts funding to help subsidize the stadium.
The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board voted yesterday to start plugging its $47 million a year operating deficit by suspending all grants to arts and tourism groups. The CIB also voted to look at renegotiating its union contracts and selling some of its assets.
How does Nickelodeon feel about an NFL stadium cutting into ARTS FUNDING? Is Nickelodeon into that?

Does Nickelodeon really believe that there is some benevolent life force (what do you think that "benevolent life force" really is? concussions? steroids?) that lives inside Lucas Oil Stadium that must be protected, even to the point of eliminating FUNDING FOR THE ARTS?

Are they next going to raise money by kicking small children in the stomachs? Is there money in evicting little old granny ladies from their homes in the dead of winter?

Way to go, Nickelodeon. You suck ass.

For more terrible stadium stories, check out Field of Schemes.


shampoo said...

o.m.f.g. this is ridiculous.

but, getting back to the show concept... let's forget the ten zillion drawbacks of stadiums... if you were a "benevolent lifeforce" (not saying you aren't, but apparently they mean something beyond human here) why would you live in a STADIUM?! why not a church or a park or a really nice house?

Ricky Sprague said...

Good point. If I was a "benevolent life force," I would want to live in that house VH1 uses for its reality shows.