Indy Star writer Matthew Tully has developed a strong local voice in Indianapolis by always offering a fair and honest analysis of the local issues that impact the city. In Wednesday's Star, Tully strayed into sports to share his gut reaction to the lingering NBA lockout that threatens to rob Conseco Fieldhouse of the Indiana Pacers home schedule.
Along with the games, an empty Fieldhouse robs the city of revenue from various sources needed to offset the financial support it has already offered the Pacers. Tully doesn't call for legal action like we heard about in Memphis, but he does see his interest in supporting the team and NBA fading as the lockout continues.
When your fan base has grown this lethargic, you need to do everything you can to lure it back. Tick the fans off, or make them realize they don't miss you -- and that's what a canceled season would do -- and you might lose them forever.
As a taxpayer who has watched the city capitulate (with little choice) to its big-league teams, the ongoing impasse is infuriating. The return on investment of a taxpayer-funded stadium is already debatable. Take out the economic benefits, and you're simply throwing money into the sewer.
Tully admits to being among the majority of casual NBA fans, most of whom I believe will return when the Pacers are playing again and delivering some success. But both of those tasks could take some time. Tully also talked about his column with Dan Dakich and how a drive by the quiet Fieldhouse the other night triggered the writing bug.
Perception is reality and Tully taps into a perception many people share about the Pacers and the NBA right now.