Report: Panthers Want More County Money
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Professional sports and public don’t go hand-in-hand over the past few years, but the Florida Panthers are still coming to Broward County officials hoping to get even more public money to help the team.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Panthers say they are losing roughly $20 million a year and are requesting a rewrite of the team’s contract with Broward County. The new deal would use tourism taxes to pay $70 million in costs for the BB&T Center that are being paid by the Panthers.
The problem for the Panthers receiving public money comes from the controversy over just how much arenas/stadiums generate for local communities. The Panthers’ organization actually makes money, due to the fact that it runs the arena and hosts concerts and other events.
It’s just the Panthers that have lost money, to the tune of roughly $7-10 million according to Forbes estimates.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the current deal has Broward County paying $8 million a year towards debt for the arena, the state kicks in $2 million, and the Panthers pay $4.5 million per year and picks up costs for maintaining and insuring the facility.
The Sun-Sentinel reported the new deal would see the Panthers get rid of their yearly payments towards the debt arena and the county would pick that amount up. The County would also pay $500,000 per year towards maintenance and any property insurance costs in excess of $1 million.
The Panthers would also give up rights to 12 acres of land south of the arena in exchange for 22 acres of land north of the arena for the team to develop. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Panthers would repay $10.6 million in loans and contribute $500,000 to a Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Finally, the Panthers said the team would commit to boosting the team’s payroll “at a level competitive with the rest of the National Hockey League,” according to the Sun-Sentinel. The new deal would run for the next 14 years.
In other words, Broward County would pay an additional $5 million a year for payments towards the arena debt and maintenance. The County could also be on the hook for more money from property taxes as well. The County would also give up 10 acres of land for the Panthers to develop.
In exchange, the Panthers would make a one-time payment of $10.6 million (roughly two years of costs the County would incur), and promise to investing in the payroll.
If the last element sounds familiar, that was the same promise Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made when the team secured the funds for Marlins Park. Loria initially invested money, but made bad investments in players and traded away the team to the point the Marlins had the second lowest payroll in baseball last year.