BOB: Marlins stadium delays and stadium naming rightsby Brian Borawski
December 03, 2008
Marlins push back stadium opening until 2012There’s good news and bad news if you’re a Florida Marlins fan who's clamoring for a new stadium. The good news is that Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen recently ruled that voters do not have to approve the financing for a new stadium for the Marlins at the site of the Orange Bowl. The bad news is, all of the legal wrangling means that the Marlins stadium is now being projected to open in 2012 and not in 2011 like initially planned.
The Marlins appeared happy because they’ve been waiting over a decade to get to this point so what’s another year. Still, with the economy the way it is, all of the financing is going to have to be in order so construction can begin in May of 2009 to get the park open on time. With the lending lockdown, my guess is that the Marlins' problems are far from over.
Tiger Stadium advocates get a short reprieveOnce again, the fate of historic Tiger Stadium hangs in the balance. The Old Tiger Stadium Conservacy was given a short extension until this Friday to submit plans and budgets to Detroit’s Economic Development Corp. for the conservation of a small part of the old ballpark. Most of the demolition has now been completed, and all that’s left is the area from one dugout to the other and the hope is for that area to be renovated as a recreational and educational complex.
Citigroup woes raise question over naming rights dealWith the banks being particularly hit hard in the current financial crisis, the fate of Citigroup hangs in the balance. While they were given a bailout a couple of weeks ago, the question still remains as to what might happen with their stadium naming rights deal with the New York Mets. It’s only the most lucrative naming rights deal at $400 million over 20 years.
Still, if you can believe the Mets, the deal is still safe. While the referenced article doesn’t say why the Mets aren’t worried, it simply says that the deal isn’t an issue. It’ll be interesting to see if the team can change its tune if Citigroup is pushed into a merger with a stronger bank or if the current troubles resurface if the credit crisis drags on longer than they think.
Jays owner Ted Rogers passes away at age 75Ted Rogers, the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays as well as the founder of Rogers Communications, passed away yesterday at the age of 75. Rogers purchased the Blue Jays back in 2000, and while he was never able to see the Blue Jays regain their dominance when they won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993, he has pushed the Jays' payroll up near $100 million in order to help the team compete with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Rogers also purchased the Skydome back in 2004, and he later renamed the park Rogers Centre. For now, the Jays' front office is largely intact, so there shouldn’t be much of a hiccup as far as the team is concerned.
Economic crisis puts Gwinnett County in a bindWhile the Mets feel they’re safe from the current economic crisis, there are some nervous people in Gwinnett County. The new Triple-A affiliate for the Atlanta Braves hasn’t secured a naming rights deal and with everyone tightening their belts, it looks like the county is worried that the naming rights deal won’t be in place early enough to help with the financing costs of the stadium. As it stands, the Braves will get a slice of the pie, and if there’s no naming rights deal in place by next September, the Braves will get to sell the rights and their share of the proceeds will go up.
Ultimately, it’s a numbers game. If the naming rights deal doesn’t bring in enough to cover the debt that was allocated to it, then the county will have to make the difference. Then they’ll either have to come up with another way to fund the payment or start making cuts somewhere else.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.
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