Capital Improvement Board

Capital Improvement Board

Faces Technical Foul Over Shoddy Record-Keeping

What happens when a municipal agency plays fast and loose with public assets? The taxpayers in Marion County, Indiana—home to the Indianapolis Colts football and Indianapolis Pacers basketball teams—are finding out the hard way. The county’s Capital Improvement Board (CIB), which oversees the region’s stadiums and convention center, currently lies at the center of an investigation into shoddy record keeping of the professional sports tickets the board receives as part of its municipal charter. Simply put: Taxpayer assets are being wasted by government employees taking their families to high profile games with no respect for people of Marion County.

Public Business or Private Entertainment: CIB’s Ticket Tracking System Blurs the Lines

The agency, which oversees about $150 million per year in taxpayer money, was granted season tickets to Indianapolis Colts football games as a part of the team’s Lucas Oil Stadium lease. The board was also provided a suite at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse under an agreement with the Indiana Pacers. These assets, which are altogether valued at more than $336,000 per season, were allocated to CIB to promote tourism and convention business for the city. They were, instead, used for friends and family of the staff of the CIB, as uncovered by an investigative Indianapolis Star report.

Between 2012 and 2014, board members invited hundreds of personal friends, family members and other unidentified guests to enjoy $19,000 in taxpayer subsidized catering and watch sports games for free.

CIB’s “ticket tracking system,” which consisted of a few sheets of paper and some notes haphazardly scribbled in the margins, revealed a number of inconsistencies and potential fraudulent behavior. Not only did CIB fail to capture who was attending games, they also failed to document their process for administering tickets, ensuring compliance, and disclosed no information how their $336,000 taxpayer investment resulted in any sort of public payoff.

That’s not the type of ticket tracking system that’s going to hold up under the microscope of an auditor and begs the question, how bad is the rest of their customer entertainment spend.

The Missed Opportunity: CIB Left Millions of Dollars in Potential Tourism Business on the Table

No organization, public or private, should handle hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets this haphazardly—especially one with millions of taxpayer dollars on the line. Sports and entertainment tickets are valuable assets; they need to be managed and accounted for—and their results tabulated—in a formal and compliant manner.

According to a InviteManager study of more than 4,000 companies and 20 million+ tickets over a two-year period, when a businessperson invites a guest to a game, that guest represents $161,544 in revenue for the company. An average luxury suite costs a company $3,080 per game and represents $2.58 million dollars in potential revenue. Without a proper tracking system in place, CIB left millions of dollars in future tourism and convention business on the table while embarrassing themselves and their constituents with haphazard processes.

These mistakes are easily avoidable. Affordable technologies solving for this specific pain are abundant and expected of companies of all sizes. CRMs like Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP, and Dynamics, Expense systems such as Expensify and Concur, and ticket and invitation management applications like InviteManager keep companies out of the negative news while enabling maximum return. How:

Full Access Anywhere

An intuitive and simple online and mobile application would have enabled CIB board members to go to one, centralized location to submit, track and manage ticket requests. The instant accessibility to the same information would have provided CIB the data needed to monitor ticket use from anywhere.

Measurable Data

InviteManager helps companies easily demonstrate business impact and value with on-demand, in-depth reports. These real-time analytics provide customers a clear understanding of ROI and how to eliminate ticket waste.

Total Control of Who Sees What and When

InviteManager provides real-time information about who is using tickets and for what purpose from one central hub—as opposed to a paper process that’s easily lost, difficult to track and rife with potential fraud. This type of oversight is particularly important for a public organization, such as CIB, who has an extra obligation to disclose its activities.

Ensure Compliance with an Audit Trial

Companies have had to rely on processes that are heavily manual, prone to error and require significant time. InviteManager is the answer to handwritten sheets of paper or internal processes that make ticket use difficult to understand and piece together. InviteManager’s tracking and accountability helps customers ensure federal compliance and avoid costly audits and penalties (not to mention, investigative stories in local newspapers)..