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Volume 24 No. 136


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).

Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz on Thursday said that he has begun "'putting the numbers together' for a possible 70,000-square-foot practice facility" that would be on the site of a parking lot "just northeast of the United Center" and across the street from a similar structure under construction by the Bulls, according to Greg Hinz of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. Wirtz suggested that his "major goal is to leverage the Blackhawks' soaring popularity to promote the sport among youngsters." Wirtz said, "The suburbs all are well-off, but the city really needs more ice surface" for hockey leagues and related sports. But Wirtz also "made it clear that in exchange for the investment, he'd like a gentleman's agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that they won't raise the amusement tax on Blackhawks games anytime soon." The two governments "now impose" a combined 12% levy on tickets -- 9% from the city and 3% from the county -- and Wirtz has been "increasingly outspoken on what he contends is a far larger tax burden than most of his competitors pay." Wirtz: "If the city and the county could just cap it, give us some certainty for five or 10 years, it certainly would help." Hinz notes the United Center "already owns the lot, which means no time needs to be allotted for land acquisition." But initial reaction from the city and county "was non-committal" (, 5/16).

The Magic's new entertainment complex near the Amway Center will be "anchored by an aluminum-and-glass building wrapped with a massive video screen and capped with a rooftop terrace," according to Mark Schlueb of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Development plans show the "sleek, six-story office building would include shopping and dining space on the first and second floors, with an open-air terrace on the second floor looking down on a large courtyard party plaza." The plaza also would feature "two large, oddly shaped 'kiosks.'" One is "identified in conceptual plans as an 'open-air retail pavilion.'" Magic CEO Alex Martins said that the team is "in discussions with Fox Sports network to use the other kiosk as a broadcast studio not only for Magic games but other programming." He added that the plan would be for Fox Sports to "move its Orlando offices from the Gateway Center just north of downtown into the new office building." Martins said that "no deal has been reached, but Fox Sports has shown 'extreme interest' in the idea." Meanwhile, outside on the plaza, plans call for "three 68-foot-tall 'media totems,' each adorned with multiple video screens." Even the "street itself could display advertising." The development is "split into two phases, representing an investment estimated" at $200M. The Magic on Tuesday are "seeking approval of plans for the first phase" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/16).

In Sacramento, Kasler & Bizjak note the city estimates that the NBA Kings in the next five months will spend $90M "on the new downtown arena." The team plans to "start several weeks of preliminary work as early as next Wednesday," while "major demolition will probably start in July." The city plans to "give the Kings a short term, interest-free loan" of $12M to "cover various permit fees that must be paid before construction can start." The Kings’ share of the project is $222M, but that "doesn’t include money spent on acquiring the arena site" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/16).

EAT A PEACH FOR PEACE: In Atlanta, Dan Klepal notes Cobb County officials on Thursday "released new projections for property and sales tax revenues" from the Braves' new ballpark and mixed-use development, saying that the venture "is a good investment that will bring in more dollars than property owners will spend on it." Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee said that the ballpark will generate $4.8M in "sales and property taxes in 2018, while the team's private development of shops, restaurants, offices and hotel will bring in another" $7.8M in the same year (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/16).

WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE: In K.C., James Dornbrook noted the Chiefs' new Art Program was created because Arrowhead Stadium has a year-round meeting area with "huge empty spaces and long bare walls," and the Chiefs "want it to be an attractive space." Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt's sister, Sharron Hunt, "serves as the chairperson of the arts program." She assembled a council of "leading art experts" in the K.C. area, which "put out a call for artists in June 2012, seeking to commission work specifically" for the stadium (, 5/14).