Sunday, May 5, 2013

Catching Up on Reading: Dolphins, Falcons, Cubs, and More

Last week, as the sausage factory in Tallahassee cranked out deal after deal, the Miami Dolphins were left sitting on the sidelines, their deal for state stadium subsidies dead.  Now, the team's billionare owner, who is upset at not getting $380 million in tax dollars, is essentially threatening to use his financial and political power to exact revenge on the politicians.  This should be fun to watch.

On the other hand, you've got the Falcons celebrating their stadium deal with pretty pictures.

Forbes has an interesting take on the Cubs' stadium threat, implying the team isn't hurting for money, but the Ricketts family is...because they weren't really rich enough to buy the team in the first place:
But the team’s need for more money is not so much tied to its antiquated ballpark, but rather the huge amount of debt the family used to purchase the team, Wrigley Field and 25% of Comcast SportsNet Chicago for $845 million from the Tribune Co. in 2009. The team still has almost $600 million of debt from the purchase.

The team is highly profitable before debt service, posting operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $32 million in 2012. But that is partly due to Ricketts chopping payroll. This year the Cubs opening day payroll was $104 million, $43 million less than 2010.
It's interesting to see what happens when businessmen buy billion-dollar sports franchises when they don't have the cash to pay for them (right, Glazers?).

My counterparts across town at WFTS took a look at the "dirty dining" at local stadiums.  Looks like eliminating risk of food illnesses remains an issue at Tampa Bay's sports venues, albeit a minor one.  You can see my 2011 story on the topic here.

Finally, Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik is closing his hedge fund to focus on his team and other real estate venutes:
Vinik, whose net worth is estimated at about $500 million, has been particularly active as a real estate investor in Tampa's Channel District. He recently pulled out of a bid to buy and redevelop the troubled entertainment complex known as Channelside Bay Plaza. However, he still controls a large swath of real estate around the Times Forum and could play a pivotal role in downtown Tampa redevelopment. 

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