SBD/May 16, 2014/Facilities

Heat, County Reportedly Nearing New Lease That Would End Profit-Sharing Arrangement

Miami-Dade currently pays AmericanAirlines Arena each year out of hotel taxes
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Heat Owner Micky Arison have "reached broad agreement" on a modified lease deal for AmericanAirlines Arena and county officials said that the deal "could be released in the coming days," according to sources cited by Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. The team is "offering to end the profit-sharing arrangement in favor of donating" about $1M a year to the county’s parks department. Arison also is "pledging to stay in the arena" through '40 in exchange for "a richer subsidy package that in 2031 would more than double" the $6.4M that Miami-Dade currently pays the arena each year out of hotel taxes. The current deal expires in '30, and the one Arison proposed April 25 "would cost Miami-Dade an additional" $121M -- with the Heat paying about $26M toward the parks and Miami-Dade sending the arena an average of $15M a year in hotel taxes from '31-40. That is "on top of" the $104M the county would "continue paying under the existing subsidy arrangement." Front-office execs "point to past plunges in ticket sales when the team lacked star players and championship hopes, and warned those slumps would be harder to weather with the mounting costs of an aging arena." The timing of Arison’s "push for a new deal is getting extra attention." A renegotiated agreement with Miami-Dade now "would insulate Arison from the political consequences" if Heat F LeBron James opts out of his contract after this season. The county received "only one profit-sharing check" during James' first three seasons with the Heat. The $257,134.12 amount is a "fraction of 1 percent of the arena’s operating windfall" from '11-13. The payout in November '13 marked the "only time in 14 years that the arena’s recorded cash flow was high enough to require sharing dollars with Miami-Dade" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/16).
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