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SMILEY'S PEOPLE HEAR THAT MORE PAYROLL CUTS LOOM
Published May 6, 1998
Marlins President Don Smiley "hopes to entice investors in his bid to buy the team for $169 million by drastically slashing an already slim player payroll through 2001," according to Alan Snel of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. The move, which would pare the player payroll to $16M each year from '99-2001, was outlined in Smiley's business plan issued Monday to prospective investors. Smiley is also telling potential investors "that he thinks Broward and Miami-Dade counties would each provide" $80M for a $250M retractable-roof stadium that could be opened by 2002 at the Pro Player Stadium complex. The Marlins' general partnership would provide $30-40M toward the facility. The document says that team expenditures would be sliced by $23.3M in '98 and that another $20M would be cut in '99, with the "bulk" of the budget cuts coming from reducing player payroll. With the cuts, the Marlins project the team's cash flow loss to decrease from $32.4M in '97 to $10.5M this year. Smiley hopes the cuts would yield a positive cash flow of $7.8M in '99 (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/6). CABLEVISION BACKING SMILEY UP? In Miami, Barry Jackson reports that TX-based First Plus Financial CEO Dan Phillips has become "the second person to confirm publicly" that he is a part of Smiley's group. Phillips declined to say how much he is investing, "but it is believed to be" in the $10M range. Jackson also notes a reported "backup plan to help finance Smiley's sale" would involve Cablevision buying Marlins Owner Wayne Huizenga's SportsChannel FL, and then providing Smiley with capital by signing a long-term cable rights deal for Marlins games. Smiley has declined to discuss any investors (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 5/6).