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Panthers Get $7.7 Million Loan From County

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Florida Panthers Logo (Source: AP)

Florida Panthers Logo (Source: AP)

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers and their fans may ‘see red’ when the team is on the ice, but Tuesday afternoon the team’s sister company saw green after the Broward Country Commission approved a $7.7 million loan for renovations to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.

The loan request by the team’s sister company, Arena Operating Company, was hotly debated by the commission, according to the Sun-Sentinel, because the county has pumped millions into the arena but has seen very little of the profits.

Since it opened in 1998, Broward County has shelled out approximately $90 million for arena construction. In that time period, the Panthers have made more than $117 million in profits.

During Tuesday meeting, most of the commissioners said they support the Panthers and since the arena was a county facility and the loan would benefit the public, profits or not.

On the suggestion of Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, the terms of the loan were changed to increase the chance that the county could see profits which they would put into a fund for future repairs. Under the approved loan agreement, the profit-sharing threshold is $13.5 million. When that amount is reach, $250,000 of it will be put into a capital reserve account.

Based on the team’s performance and renovations, the Panthers expect to make $21 million at the arena this year.

County Auditor Evan Lukic was against putting any shared profits into a reserve account because he said it would only be used for the arena when it could be used other projects like the county’s new courthouse.

The Sun-Sentinel contributed to this report.

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