Field of Schemes
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February 11, 2009

Miami Herald: Marlins deal bad even as stadiums go

Big ups to the Miami Herald, which, despite massive layoffs and earning a spot on lists of newspapers most likely to fold, has been actually taking the time to do original research on the Florida Marlins stadium deal. Today's analysis finds that the deal "would be among the more generous to a team owner this decade," ranking 9th out of 14 baseball stadium deals sealed since 2000.

As with the Herald's earlier story on the cost of Marlins stadium bonds, you can argue with the specifics - in this case, the Herald just used up-front public/private stadium splits to determine its "9th out of 14" ranking, meaning deals like those for the Mets and Yankees show as all-private. (To its credit, the Herald does note that its chart "does not address the wide range of other variables involved in stadium projects," such as land and infrastructure or low-cost loans.) But the paper's analysis also noted hidden subsidies to the Marlins deal, such as that the team will pay neither rent nor property tax, and will get virtually all revenues from the stadium - and what little money the county gets must be spent on improving the stadium for the team's benefit. ''Wow," San Diego ballpark administrator Tim Moore told the Herald, "the Marlins negotiated a good deal."

The best part of the piece, though, may be Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez's quote defending the stadium plan: "It's probably not the best deal that has ever been worked out between a community and a team. [But] at some point, negotiations have to stop." With friends like these...

Anyway, go read the article yourself: It's long, it's detailed, and the Herald needs the ad revenue.


Neil, as of Feb. 12 the URL for the Herald article has changed to

Posted by just_a_reader on February 12, 2009 11:18 AM

Thanks. No big ups for newspapers that don't keep their old links active, grr.

Posted by Neil on February 12, 2009 11:56 AM

So, here we go - will Miami be the start of some sanity in the Field of Schemes, or, will they sign off on one of the worst deals of all time.

Neil, do you think there is any chance that the Miami-Dade Commissioners will reject this?

Posted by Thomas on February 13, 2009 12:49 AM

A chance? Yes. Though - not knowing much about these specific commissioners, mind you - if history is any guide, it's likely that they'd only end up negotiating some minor concessions, then pass it next month, a la what happened in D.C.

It's always possible that unprecedented sanity is about to take hold, but I've predicted that before, and always been wrong, so we'll see.

Posted by Neil on February 13, 2009 08:42 AM

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