The city of Austin released its term sheet with Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt on Friday, and it would involve the city owning the stadium (but not getting a share of stadium revenues) and leasing it back to the team, sparing Precourt any property taxes. He would pay rent, but it’s not much: $550,000 a year, not starting until the sixth year of the lease, which is worth less than $10 million total in present value.
All of which we knew already, except for the rent amount, which had previously been set at $1. (We also know that Austin residents are not fans of the property tax break.) That’s an improvement, obviously, but Precourt is demanding his pound of flesh in return, as he now wants the city to chip in $975,000 over years 6 and 7 of the lease, and $125,000 per year afterwards, toward a capital repair fund. That won’t eat up all of the new rent payments, but it certainly takes a bite out of them.
The big question remains how much the property tax break would be worth to Precourt, and the best estimates are a whole hell of a lot more than he’d be paying in rent. It is yet another reminder that when evaluating stadium subsidies, just looking at construction costs is for chumps; savvy negotiators hide their free cash in the lease terms.