Sure, teams are quick to point out how many Floridians they employ over the course of a season. In fact, teams often claim if they don't get the tens of millions of dollars they're seeking for stadium construction or renovations, many Floridians could lose their jobs.
But a closer look at the facts shows the potentially-scary repercussions of rejecting stadium subsidies seldom come to fruition. For example:
- The Miami Dolphins told state legislators in 2013 they needed public help to pay for $350 million in stadium renovations. Governor Rick Scott reportedly lobbied for the bill, saying Florida may not host any more Super Bowls without the contributions. When the financing was rejected, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said, "there won't be a renovation...simple as that." Team CEO Mike Dee said the team's future in South Florida is "clearly bleak." But a year later, the team announced it would pay for the renovations itself. Sun Life Stadium already receives $2 million/yr from the state.
- Officials at Daytona International Speedway sought $60 million from the state in 2013 for its "Daytona Rising" renovation project. They reportedly said the track wouldn't remain "relevant" without the money. But when the subsidies failed to pass through the legislature, International Speedway Corp. (which owns NASCAR) moved ahead and privately-funded the entire $400 million renovation project.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to secure $2 million/yr from the state in 2013 for renovations to their home, EverBank Field. The team indicated "major events (would) look past everything Jacksonville has to offer" without the money. But when the bill failed to pass, the team paid for the renovations on its own. EverBank Field already receives $2 million/yr from the state.
Sometimes, good ole-fashioned political lobbying even trumps scary hypotheticals.
Check out the stories tomorrow on-air or online for more.