On Friday afternoon, the traditional time for politicians to announce things that they don’t want to get too much media play, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Heat owner Micky Arison finally announced the new lease agreement that Arison had jumped the gun on announcing last month. The details of the final plan:
- Miami-Dade would give up its profit-sharing deal with the Heat (value: essentially worthless since the Heat never share any profits).
- Arison would start paying $1 million a year in “donations” to the county parks department (value: about $12 million in present value).
- The Heat would extend their lease, currently set to end in 2030, through 2035, and get $8.5 million a year in annual county subsidies for those five years (value: about $18 million in present value).
- Miami-Dade would retain naming rights to the arena, something that Arison originally wanted transferred to him.
The Miami Herald reports that this deal would “cost Miami-Dade an additional $19 million through 2035,” but that’s not accounting for the fact that the Heat’s rent payments would start now, while the added lease subsidies wouldn’t kick in until 2031, and money now is better than money 17 years from now. If we assign zero value to the profit-sharing deal, I have this as costing Miami-Dade about $6 million, which seems completely reasonable for an extra five years of locking the Heat into not moving. (Or more realistically, not threatening to move in exchange for a new arena and/or new lease on the old one.)
There’s always the possibility that there’s something else hidden in the lease that we don’t know about — Friday coverage, remember — but for now, this actually looks like one of the more reasonable lease renegotiations. It’s certainly better than the $66 million in subsidies Arison originally wanted in exchange for a 10-year extension, so tentative props to Gimenez for bargaining him down, even if fewer props for the way he chose to announce it.