SBD/12/Franchises

HUIZENGA ON LIFE AS SOUTH FLORIDA'S SPORTS MOGUL

     In an extensive interview in Sunday's MIAMI HERALD, Wayne
Huizenga, owner of the Marlins, Dolphins, Panthers and Joe Robbie
Stadium, said he would like to have the Marlins play in a new
park and that the Panthers are a money-losing proposition without
a publicly-financed arena.
     ON THE MARLINS:  Huizenga said there are worse baseball
parks than Joe Robbie Stadium, "but it isn't as good as the new
ones in Denver and Texas and Baltimore. ... JRS limits our
revenue.  I'm not whining.  I'm a big boy.  I knew what the rules
were when I got in, and you take it or get out, but we shouldn't
get blamed for some of the things we do.  The Marlins are trying
to keep ticket prices down, but our hands are tied with a stadium
that should be owned by taxpayers, a stadium not getting the
revenue it should from skyboxes and club seats [that revenue goes
toward bank loans]. ... Maybe I'm stupid, but I think we could
pay down the debt on the stadium, which is $90 million, so a few
years out, the Dolphins could carry that lesser debt."
     ON THE PANTHERS:  "As far as hockey goes, it happened so
fast, sort of like most things in my life that weren't calculated
or planned out, I was just in the right place at the right time.
Or, in the case of hockey, the wrong place.  ... With the
Panthers I just wanted to help, maybe lend somebody a little
money or take a little piece of the club. ... Before I knew it, I
was all the way in.  It happened that way, and I wish it hadn't
happened because we are losing our butt."  Noting the lack of NHL
TV revenues and the Miami Arena's lack of skyboxes, Huizenga
said, "When I see and read about this cheapskate Huizenga ought
to step up to the plate and build part of the damn [arena]
himself, say spend $50 million, well, at the end of the next
three years, I will have $100 million in hockey, and people want
me to make it $150 million and still [be] losing money?  There is
no way.  That's suicide."  While Huizenga gave a firm "no" when
asked if he would ever sell the Marlins or Dolphins, he said only
"I don't know" when posed with the same question about the
Panthers (MIAMI HERALD, 6/11).
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