So for better or for worse, the Orlando City S.C. soccer stadium was approved last week, and the financial breakdown is set in stone: The team will put in $40 million, the city and county will put in $20 million each, and the rest will be covered in dribs and drabs that will somehow add up to $14 million. It’s neither the best stadium deal in history nor the worst, but at least it’s resolved and — hoooooold everything:
Even though Orlando boosters were rebuffed by the Legislature last spring when they sought a sales-tax rebate for the stadium, plans are afoot to ask again for $30 million in tax breaks, which could pave the way for the grander $114 million version.
This is the $2 million a year in state sales tax kickbacks that the state of Florida has in the past handed out to pretty much all of its sports teams, which was approved for OCSC by the state senate last spring, but then rejected by the state house amid the Miami Dolphins subsidy debate. Apparently OCSC could ask for the tax break as late as 2015, at which point its new stadium would be almost set to open, but presumably last-minute bells and whistles — the list includes more luxury seating, a second “executive club,” and more advertising boards — could be added if the state money turned up.
Which is completely screwy, and surely nobody in the state legislature thinks that the public should hand over $30 million for a stadium project that’s already being built, just so the team can get more stuff to boost its profits with, right? Right?
“I think it’s something that’s good for the community, it’s good for the state, and boy, does it help make this city more of a world-class community,” said Sen. David Simmons, an Altamonte Springs Republican who plans to push for the tax break next spring.
There you have it, sports fans: A “world-class community” is one that has more advertising signage at its soccer stadium. Put that in your don’t-know-what-I-said book.