Heat Ready To Extend AmericanAirlines Arena Lease With Miami-Dade County
The Heat, which has “yet to pay Miami-Dade a dime in profits after 12 years at its bayfront arena, wants to extend its 30-year agreement with the county for another decade,” according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The existing agreement for AmericanAirlines Arena “doesn’t expire until 18 years from now, in 2030.” But, as “permitted in the contract," Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth sent Mayor Carlos Gimenez a letter last week "asking the county to begin negotiations on two five-year extensions.” Heat Exec VP & CFO Sammy Schulman said, “We’re here. We’re a long-term partner. We’re not going anywhere.” The Heat’s title-winning season generated about $62M in revenue -- "bringing it closer than ever to the threshold that would require the team’s arena-operating arm to fork over some of the money to the county.” Miami-Dade, as part the county’s ‘97 deal with the Heat, “agreed to let the arena keep profits up to $14 million a year, with the county set to receive 40 percent of any additional profits.” The arena “ran a deficit through 2010.” All of the county terms “could be tweaked as part of the negotiations, though the county says it’s too early to say which provisions it will focus on.” Heat lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez, who is “close to Mayor Gimenez, called the profit-sharing provision ‘the elephant in the room.’” Lopez also said that the county “may not be in a position to continue providing an annual subsidy to the arena, which would put a greater burden on the team to maintain the facility” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/27).