SBD/5/Franchises

SIZING UP THE FINANCIAL SITUATION IN SOUTH FLORIDA

     The four pro teams in South Florida and their inability to
"turn a profit" are profiled by Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD
in a piece entitled, "Winning Teams, Losing Bottom Lines."
Panthers/Marlins/Dolphins Owner Wayne Huizenga: "Sports is
different from other businesses.  It's a unusual thing.  When
you're in other businesses people expect you to operate a
profitably.  But in sports, people perceive it as a negative when
a team makes money.  There is a double standard.  If I had to do
it all over again as far as going into sports, that would be a
real tough decision.  But now, that we are in sports, we will
stay in it. ... In hindsight, it might be better off not getting
into it."  Huizenga notes with the Panthers, "we know it will
turn around with the new arena.  The Marlins are the ones we
don't see the light at the end of the tunnel."  The MIAMI HERALD
examined the financial status of each South FL team.
     MARLINS:  The Marlins had total revenue of $53M and a net
loss of $17M.  For the team, financial "woes have everything to
do with attendance."  Season tickets have dropped to 12,500 this
season after 20,000 in '93.  Huizenga said he would consider
selling the team if the Marlins win and still have trouble
drawing fans.  Huizenga: "Nobody would buy this team in the
condition we're in, unless there's a change in attendance or a
new venue."
     DOLPHINS: The Dolphins had $65M in total revenues, mostly
from network TV deals and ticket sales.  But the team had a $45M
payroll and $20M in expenses to "merely break even."  Dolphins
management say they expect to make a profit, but "wouldn't
project how much they plan to make."
     PANTHERS: The Panthers earned $30M in total revenue with a
net loss of $11M.  They lose money annually as their lease at
Miami Arena is "among the worst in sports."  They paid $849,982
in rent in '95, while the Heat paid $219,031.  The Panthers
receive no skybox revenue and earned "just" $5M in national and
local TV/radio revenue in '95.
     HEAT:  Heat Owner Micky Arison said the team broke even in
'95 with a payroll around $2M less than '96.  Although more than
90% of season-ticket holders have renewed for this season, "new
sales have lagged."  Arison: "Even with a new arena, breaking
even is the best we can hope for for a long time" (MIAMI HERALD,
11/3).
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