SBD/June 4, 2014/Facilities

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  • Heat's New Arena Deal Easily Approved By Miami-Dade Commissioners

    Miami-Dade will end the profit-sharing arrangement from the original deal

    The Heat “easily won a new arena deal" yesterday from Miami-Dade County, with commissioners agreeing to "subsidize the team’s home court for an additional five years in exchange for regular donations to the county’s parks department,” according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Miami-Dade would “still pay far more into the county-owned AmericanAirlines Arena than it would receive” from the Heat’s new $1M payment to parks, but commissioners “touted the deal as a welcome investment in South Florida’s hottest sports team.” There were “10 votes in favor of the agreement” and “two commissioners voted no.” The $6.4M in hotel taxes that Miami-Dade “currently pays the Heat annually as an operating subsidy would continue as planned until the end of the current deal” in ‘30, then rise to $8.5M a year for “the extra five years tacked on under the agreement” approved yesterday. Miami-Dade also would “retire a profit-sharing arrangement that was a central part” of the ‘97 agreement that provided for the Heat to finance construction of the arena on county waterfront, then “pay itself back with interest out of arena profits.” The franchise has “shared profits with the county only once, when it wrote a check to Miami-Dade last fall for less than $270,000.” Heat execs this week said that they “expected the deal would yield no profit-sharing money in 2014, thanks to heavy spending on arena upgrades.” The deal’s approval "marked a victory” for both Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Heat, both of whom had to “overcome the political hazards attached to subsidized stadium deals in Miami.” The current contract lets Miami-Dade sell the arena naming rights itself “once the American Airlines sponsorship resets” in ‘20. The new deal “preserves that right, but also sets up a system where the county can let the Heat sell the rights itself and then negotiate a split with Miami-Dade” (MIAMI HERALD, 6/4).

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