It's surprising, and yet not at the same time, given how talks between the CIB and the Indiana Pacers were creeping at a glacial pace, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement today, the self imposed deadline by the Pacers.
Even though the deadline was set by the Pacers, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard didn't feel locked into the June 30th "deadline." The city will continue to work with the Pacers to get the "right deal" for the city and the taxpayers.
Not only is the city set to lose considerable revenue if the Pacers were to leave, not to mention the disappointing eyesore the revived downtown area would have in a Conseco Fieldhouse scrambling for dates and usage, there is severe shortsightedness in local residents that are already bidding a good riddance to the Pacers.
Taxpayer issues aside, which are quite valid, few people seem interested in saving their Pacers. And that is the problem with the fairweather nature of the average Indianapolis sports fan. It's easy to wish the Pacers away when the Indianapolis Colts are one of the NFL's premier franchises. At the same time, it's easy to forget that it was just ten years ago, these same people asking the Pacers to go away are those that donned the #31 jersey and cheered loudest for their beloved basketball team while questioning the worth of the black sheep Colts.
Now it's a completely different situation. While the city's love affair with the Colts doesn't seem like it'll ever end, rest assured, it only takes a short lack of success and a few unfamiliar faces for this town to turn on you. This isn't a town that only supports a winner, this is a town that only tolerates a winner. That in and of itself would be fine if they didn't spit on the team that is down and walk on laughing.
But of course, none of this has to do with the city needing to bend over backwards for the Pacers. They don't. After all, Herb Simon has yet to spill what led to that bottom line, but as sports fans, it's simply about cautionary. Indianapolis fans need a lesson in cycles. At some point, the Pacers will rise and the Colts will fall, and many moaning fans will be wondering, "Who was it that let the Pacers skip town?" Only to follow it up by, "Why can't we get rid of the Colts to get them back?"
As there will surely be more on this in the coming hours and days, we'll do our part to keep you up to speed on the latest developments.