Mariners’ $180m lease subsidy demand only has two council backers out of nine so far

It looks like the Seattle Mariners owners’ attempt to get $180 million in county tax money to buy fancier stadium toasters isn’t off to a rousing start, with county councilmembers starting to line up in opposition to the proposed lease. Opponents now include Larry Gossett (who last week asked “why in the world” governments “keep giving public tax dollars to very wealthy professional teams”), Jeanne Kohl-Welles (who said the M’s should get just $25 million and the rest of the tax money should go toward affordable housing), and Dave Upthegrove (who’s hated on this plan from the start), with Pete Von Reichbauer and Joe McDermott on the pro side; the other four members, Rod Dembowski, Kathy Lambert, Claudia Balducci, and Reagan Dunn, haven’t stated a position yet, which obviously leaves lots of swing votes, but only two of the four would be needed at this point to block the plan.

The risk here isn’t huge — the Mariners owners aren’t threatening to leave Seattle, likely in part because they know there are no other available markets remotely the same size, and would in fact be willing to sign a short-term lease extension if they can’t get their long-term one with all the cash attached. The King County council will be holding a public hearing this Wednesday on the proposed lease extension, at which point maybe we’ll have a better sense of which way the other councilmembers are leaning, likely after getting an earful from Seattle residents.

4 comments on “Mariners’ $180m lease subsidy demand only has two council backers out of nine so far

  1. Just curious…Neil do you see any correlation between the purchase of a team/franchise and the demand for increased government spending…or is it more a market function related to the lease timing of the stadium/arena?

    Seeing a lot of it coinciding with the Hawks, Mariners, etc….

  2. OOOOOOOOOO. Looks like it’s time for M’s ownership to media leak and then deny a story about them travelling to Pocatello or Des Moines for “exploratory talks” with local officials!!!!!

  3. Despite being the one to present to the public the $180M ask, Dow’s latest interviews seem to be taking a tone of “that’s what the PFD negotiated and the council will have to decide.” – first ~7 min of audio there

    On today’s episode, they had the former PFD chair and a former PFD member to take opposite positions.

    Kind of sad they didn’t call Neil for the color commentary about trends in publicly owned baseball stadiums and how this deal stacks up.

  4. During Wednesday’s council meeting, they decided not to vote that day and schedule the next meeting on the 5th. Now a councilmember is proposing the Hotel+Motel tax issue go to a public vote in Feb 2019, because voters love giving money to a stadium that has been under MLB attendance average since 2005.