After years of wrangling the tax-payers, the Florida Marlins are now set to break ground on their new stadium in Little Havana, the project originally estimated to be around $1.8-2 billion has now seen cost estimates soar to approximately $2.4 billion. That seems like a lot.
Fortunately, the Marlins, awash in cash from their packed house every night are paying for the entire stadium out of their pocket.
Wait, I’m being informed that isn’t accurate. Oh, you’re telling me the Marlins are contributing $120 million towards construction and another $35 million to repay a loan from the county and that’s it? Seems to me that is a robust 6% of the ENTIRE construction costs. Wow, nicely done Marlins. I’m not quite clear how the team was able to swindle the city into giving them this deal, but it is an AWFUL one for the city. Even worse, the team is locking itself into a 40 year deal with the city, meaning that after the first season in the new park when the fans stop showing up, as they have done consistently in Florida, the city will be on the hook without gaining much back.
‘This is the sort of financing you do when you cannot afford it,” said Leo Guzman, president of securities firm Guzman & Co. in Coral Gables, who is not involved in the deal. Sounds like a ringing endorsement!
Also, the team is only building 37,000 seats, which is only a few hundred more than Fenway Park holds. The Red Sox sell out every game because their fans are passionate and so are able to contend thanks to high ticket prices and demand. The Marlins average 17K fans at their games, which is being VERY generous with counting, I simply don’t see how this will work out in the end for Miami, the Marlins or the citizens of Miami. Shame on the city managers who agreed to this deal in the first place.
Everyone would be best served by allowing the team to move to a market where the fans will actually show up to the games. Clearly the product on the field isn’t the issue because even when the Marlins were winning World Series the fans don’t show up until the playoffs.