Panthers could leave Florida without arena subsidies, says Broward ex-mayor pushing arena subsidies

And today in wild speculation about the future of the Florida Panthers, outgoing Broward County mayor Barbara Sharief says that Panthers co-owner Vincent Viola wants $78 million in operating subsidies over the next 14 years, or else he might take the team elsewhere. And that would be bad because AEG’s contract to bring concerts to the BB&T Center is with the Panthers, not the county, and without that “it would be very difficult for us to book shows and to fill up the arena. So essentially … we would have a concrete dinosaur just sitting there.” (Presumably there would be no way for the county to cut its own deal with AEG, because if the Panthers left there would be too many old memories for them to want to book concerts into Broward without breaking down in tears.)

You may remember Sharief as the mayor who earlier this year hired a consultant to see whether it would be cost-effective to meet Viola’s subsidy demands in order to keep the Panthers in town, notwithstanding that the Panthers’ lease runs through 2028 and Viola isn’t actually offering to extend the lease any if he gets his $78 million. County mayors rotate each year, so Sharief will return to being a regular county commissioner in 2015, but she took one last shot at some publicity with this Panthers announcement, which included “a preliminary study that shows the BB&T Center is worth $450 million, but would be valued at just $60 million without the Panthers.” Study not actually included on Sharief’s website, but she does give her phone number and suggest that readers call with any questions, so feel free.


9 comments on “Panthers could leave Florida without arena subsidies, says Broward ex-mayor pushing arena subsidies

  1. Steve Steffens, I think you’ve blown your chance to be Broward County Mayor.

    And I like the New Math at work here – a facility is worth 7.5x more if you pay somebody to occupy it. Gotta remember that concept for my rental property…

  2. The Panthers should leave Florida because it’s a terrible market for hockey and has repeatedly proven that. The league would be better off moving some teams from weak markets (Florida, Tampa, Arizona, etc) to ones where there is more likely to be underlying cultural support (i.e. where people actually tend to like winter sports).

  3. Does anyone know where I could find a copy of the Panthers’ lease? It seems like a key question here is whether they’re free to leave before 2028, and if so how much they’d have to pay to break it.

  4. Not sure if this is the actual lease, a summary or ‘other’, but it’s definitely something. http://law.marquette.edu/assets/sports-law/pdf/lease-summary-florida-panthers.pdf

  5. That’s a start, certainly, thanks!

    Though now I really want to read the lease, if only to find out what the difference is between “hockey events” and “other hockey events.”

  6. Anonymous says:
    “The Panthers should leave Florida because it’s a terrible market for hockey and has repeatedly proven that. The league would be better off moving some teams from weak markets (Florida, Tampa, Arizona, etc) to ones where there is more likely to be underlying cultural support (i.e. where people actually tend to like winter sports).”
    You need to remove Tampa from your list – unlike the Rays, the Lightning draw very well – averaging over 18,000 per game, season in, season out.

  7. Move them to Quebec and get it over with. Florida should have never been awarded two NHL teams. The only reason they did, was because Broward County agreed to build this arena for Wayne Huizenga.

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