SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Taxpayers in Broward County were brought one step closer to a financial bailout of the Florida Panthers Tuesday. A majority of county commissioners support the bailout arguing if the team isn’t bailed out, it could move from South Florida.
The team has asked for $80 million in tax money from the county to help meet fiscal obligations, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. According to the Panthers, they need the money because the team loses $100,000 a day the Sun-Sentinel reported.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the outstanding debt remaining on the BB&T Center stands at $225.1 million. The county pays $8 million a year and the Panthers provide an additional $4.5 million per year. But, the team wants the county to pick up all of the payments for the next 14 years.
Complicating problems for the Panthers is the team has been one of the worst in the NHL for years. Much in the same way the Miami Marlins are notoriously frugal, the Panthers regularly have one of the lowest payrolls in the league.
In South Florida sports, it’s fine to have a low payroll if the team is winning. But if the team is not winning, attendance will be horrible. The Marlins have proven this formula true and so have the Panthers in the past decade.
The team was bought this season by Vinnie Viola who said he wants to bring a Stanley Cup to South Florida. But, until ownership unleashes a lot more money for contracts, or the team just starts winning, attendance won’t budget and the team will likely keep losing money.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, some hotels and cities are opposed to the Panthers’ request because it would take county money from tourism marketing and beach rebuilding.