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Heat Push For Subsidy Deal Through Ad

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Miami Heat

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Heat took out a full-page ad in the Miami Herald on Sunday in a push for a change to their public-private partnership with Miami-Dade County.

In the ad the team emphasized their commitment to the community, the American Airlines Arena and their partnership with the county.

The advertisement states, “And in the true spirit of partnership, we have contributed private funds to guarantee that the American Airlines Arena became and will remain a world-class entertainment destination.”

The ad also mentions how the team claims to support over 21,000 jobs, adding that they have, “met and exceeded” their obligations in the public-private partnership.

“We’ve privately financed over $263 million in construction, renovations, and improvements to the County-owned arena…We bear 100% of the operating risk and, therefore, we have privately financed over $45 million in operating losses.”

With that they asked the county to,”reinvest a fair-share.”

“All we have asked of our partners at the County is to reinvest a fair-share of the revenue which we help generate from out of town visitors-without utilizing property tax or general revenue funds and without adding a cent to County debt,” said the advertisement.

The Miami Heat adds they are prepared to do even more in the coming years in relation to the proposed extension of their partnership with the county. On April 23rd, the team announced they have agreed to extend their partnership with Miami-Dade another 10 years through 2040.

The deal is still subject to approval by the county’s commissioners, with a vote possible on May 6, and the announcement hardly assures that the extension is done.

Heat managing partner Micky Arison said the team struck the deal with Mayor Carlos Gimenez and that the pact includes an inflation-adjusted operating subsidy of $147 million from the county’s Convention Development Tax fund, money he said will be reinvested into the building.

“By any measure, the partnership between the Miami Heat and Miami-Dade County has been a hugely successful one,” Arison wrote in a statement released by the team shortly before Game 2 of its Eastern Conference first-round series. “Today, we are committing to keep that success going.”

Not so fast there, according to Gimenez, who said no deal was struck and a subsidy issue remains a major concern.

“We don’t have a deal that I’m recommending,” Gimenez told the Miami Herald.

Arison cited an economic impact study conducted last spring that found the Heat and the arena generate $1.4 billion annually for the South Florida economy.

“From the community’s perspective, this extension has already paid for itself and then some,” Arison said.

The team also says the deal provides “cost certainty for the franchise, a necessity in this age of punitive NBA luxury taxes.” Arison said that will help the team plan future basketball spending.

The tentative deal also calls for the Heat to make an annual payment to the county, earmarked for what Arison called “perpetually underfunded” parks and recreation activities for residents.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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