Amid all the talk about poor billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and how he’s not getting his public stadium subsidy this year, let’s not forget about the Orlando City Soccer Club, which also lost its expected windfall of state cash when the Florida house didn’t pass a stadium funding bill last week. Nonetheless, both Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City president Phil Rawlins insist that a stadium will be built, and it’ll be awesome, and no, they have no idea how it’ll be paid for.
The best part of this story, really, is the screengrab of the Fox 35 report with the caption “Bringing Soccer to Orlando: Where Will Money Come From?” You really couldn’t ask for a better example of how the media help set up stadium deals as a fait accompli, where the question isn’t whether to build, but rather how to pay for what must be built. Let’s all say a quiet thanks to Fox 35, for providing an image that we’ll be able to link to for years, every time we want to shake our heads sadly about how news outlets are complicit in stadium shakedowns.
But anyway, sure, let’s try to answer the question: Where will the money come from? Let’s see, how about … the soccer team that’s going to be getting the revenues from the stadium? If soccer in Orlando is such a great idea, they can pay for their own building, right? Like, maybe with naming rights fees, for starters?
[Orange County Mayor Teresa] Jacobs also has raised the possibility of using an estimated $10 million to $20 million in projected revenue from naming rights — the money a corporation would pay to slap its name on the venue — to help pay for construction.
But Rawlins insisted that future naming-rights revenues should go to the team and not be part of the capital-financing plan, even in light of the lost state funding.
“I don’t think those two issues are connected,” Rawlins said.
Right, of course money paid for the name of a new stadium couldn’t possibly have anything to do with how to pay for building the stadium. Don’t know what we were thinking.