SBD/June 17, 2013/Facilities

Heat In Talks With Miami-Dade To Rework Public Subsidies In Arena Lease

Miami-Dade County pays AmericanAirlines Arena $6.4M annually under the current deal
The Heat have "begun talks to rework a deal for public subsidies at AmericanAirlines Arena in exchange for a longer lease and a significant upgrade of the 13-year-old facility," according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Heat execs said that they will "need more help from Miami-Dade to sustain the arena’s current top-notch quality into the middle of the century." They added that talks are "driven by the age of the county-owned arena, and not the current championship run." Private talks "are underway at County Hall," with the Heat "pushing for a quick decision in order to give them more leeway to plan the next 20 to 30 years in downtown Miami." Public dollars are "sure to be a sticking point in the talks." Miami-Dade pays the arena $6.4M a year "under a deal that runs through 2029." Heat Owner Micky Arison previously "negotiated an agreement that includes the yearly subsidy and a profit-sharing formula that has yet to deliver any money for Miami-Dade." Heat Attorney Jorge Luis Lopez said that to fund the team's planned upgrades, Miami-Dade may "need to increase its current subsidy" to as much as $17M a year in the "extended term that would begin in 2029." Miami-Dade's current subsidy payments could rise by $2M in '19 "if American Airlines drops its sponsorship of the arena." The county essentially "receives the naming-rights dollars." Heat execs said that they are "willing to consider reworking the current deal if Miami-Dade officials want to eliminate the risk of lost sponsorship money when the American deal expires" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/15).
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