SBD/January 3, 2013/Franchises

Mets' Wilpon, Katz Refinance $450M In SNY Loans To Help Day-To-Day Team Operations

Mets Chair & CEO Fred Wilpon and President Saul Katz after a months-long process have "refinanced $450 million in loans borrowed against" Mets broadcaster SportsNet New York, according to Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. While the financial terms "could not be learned, some of the proceeds are expected to go toward funding the cash-strapped team’s day-to-day operations." Wilpon and Katz have been "working with Bank of America since October to line up the refinancing." By completing it "before year-end, they have also avoided higher capital gains taxes on their SNY investment." The refinancing comes "just days after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating for Citi Field to BB -- two notches below investment grade -- from BB+ with a negative outlook." The firm is concerned there will be “slight cash flow declines in the near future” before the Mets’ finances stabilize (N.Y. POST, 1/3). In N.Y., Howard Megdal cited the Standard & Poor's report as saying that the Mets' "ability to finance its stadium debt is worse than it was a year ago." A "deeper look at the supporting reasoning" for the team's rating downgrade "yields a familiar set of conclusions: the ratings agency believes attendance will drop further, on-field play will get worse, and the ownership group's ability to cover losses is worse than it was a year ago." Standard & Poor's projects the Mets to "lose even more of their fans in 2013, down another five percent" (CAPITALNEWYORK.com, 1/2).
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