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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.