Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

cityboi

can Charlotte get its ducks in a row for MLB?

10 posts in this topic

The Florida Marlins want a new stadium but it would likely require public money. If the Marlins cant get a new facilty and if they consider moving the franchise, can Charlotte be prepared to handle 3 major league sports franchise?

Marlins' success sparking renewed talks of new ballpark

TIM REYNOLDS

Associated Press

MIAMI - Six troubled years have passed since the Florida Marlins have enjoyed this sort of success, but city officials and economists say that doesn't necessarily mean it's the right time for the team to aggressively pursue a new baseball-only stadium.

A thrill-filled season capped by a World Series berth has drawn jam-packed crowds to Marlins postseason games at Pro Player Stadium, a cavernous facility built for football and one that's typically one-fifth full for regular-season baseball games.

New ballparks can bring new excitement, more fans and ultimately more revenue - something the Marlins say they desperately need. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria claimed losses of $20 million last season; team officials were predicting a similar shortfall this year, although the blow will be cushioned somewhat by extra revenue from the surprising postseason run.

But new ballparks carry a minimum price tag of $300 million or more, a bill the Marlins won't be able to pay solely on their own. And South Florida lawmakers don't seem eager to ask taxpayers for the cash, either.

The result is continued limbo, as the team is winning between the foul lines and losing on the bottom line.

"The one thing going for them, obviously, is their success on the field," said Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economist who has written about sports. "What's not going for them is the country's economic situation. It's a hard time to ask the public to step up to the plate."

Team and city officials have been meeting for several months about the stadium notion, although the talks haven't entered the formal-negotiation stage yet. Marlins team officials are not revealing the details of their ballpark-related discussions with city leaders, said P.J. Loyello, the club's vice president of communications.

Otto Boudet-Murias, the senior adviser on economic development for Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, said the sides are still "kicking ideas around."

"We have met with them on several occasions," Boudet-Murias said. "We've been pretty consistent in our message to them that it will require a substantial contribution from the team. That hasn't been quantified yet."

It's not that Pro Player is a terrible place for baseball. Parking isn't a problem, it's conveniently located between Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and fans are relatively close to the action. And despite their money troubles, costs were kept low during the regular season: For $18, a fan could park the car ($9), get an outfield seat ($4) and have a hot dog and soda for dinner ($5).

But a new park would relieve the Marlins of one of their biggest sources of money trouble: Their lease, which heavily favors the stadium, owned by former Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga. The Marlins receive only percentages of concessions, parking and premium seat sales, and nothing from suite rentals.

"They've made it clear that a stadium deal is necessary for them and everyone knows why - because of the stadium deals that currently exist at Pro Player Stadium," Boudet-Murias said.

Economists like Zimbalist believe the profits the stadium now collects would more than offset the losses Loria and the Marlins are incurring. But even if a new ballpark is built, there's no guarantee that the new revenue streams will begin flowing - a fact that concerns even the most ardent political ballpark backers.

"Why should the lease they have with Huizenga lead to the public spending hundreds of millions of dollars?" Zimbalist said. "I would think that the franchise ought to be getting a better lease deal. I think politicians should be concentrating on that instead of a getting a new stadium."

If fans aren't in the seats - and Florida's attendance has ranked among the lowest in major league baseball for the past five seasons, albeit all losing ones - no new ballpark will make a dime.

Over the last five years, 12 new ballparks have been built solely for baseball. In most cases, teams in new ballparks have flourished financially. Florida, meanwhile, is fiscally floundering, and there's no end in sight.

Fans are keeping a cautious eye on the future, knowing that even though a world championship may be coming, there's still no real guarantee the Marlins are staying.

"They're going to have to build on this to keep the team here," said longtime Marlins fan John Baron, a Miami Lakes resident. "I don't think they're going to stay if they don't get a new stadium or get a better deal from Wayne. They can't afford to."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Charlotte has its hands full right now...we can't even build a minor league stadium so MLB is definately out of the question for the time being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charlotte's just not ready for MLB. The population and population density arent here and wont be for a least another decade. Id hate to barely get a team here and then have it move away after 5-10 years b/c we cant support it.

Good point in the article though. If they have a bad lease deal why should the public be forced to pay for their mistake? Everything else about the stadium sounds fine. FOUR DOLLAR OUTFIELD SEATS, that rules!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charlotte's just not ready for MLB. The population and population density arent here and wont be for a least another decade. Id hate to barely get a team here and then have it move away after 5-10 years b/c we cant support it.

Good point in the article though. If they have a bad lease deal why should the public be forced to pay for their mistake? Everything else about the stadium sounds fine. FOUR DOLLAR OUTFIELD SEATS, that rules!

I agree that Charlotte is still a little short in the population department to support a MLB baseball team, but in 10 years they should be able to.

I also don't think that South Florida residents should have to build them a new stadium. Pro Player isn't that bad, and if they could get a better lease there wouldn't be a problem. There isn't any point in building a 300 million dollar stadium because of their bad lease.

$4 tickets rock, Atlanta has those standing room $1 seats which is pretty cool too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question is when Charlotte is ready to support the majors, how will they finance the stadium? If Charlotte ever want to get Major League Baseball, they are going to have to figure out how to get the stadium funded without useing the peoples money. If they use taxes, they should go along the path of useing rental tax or hospitality tax or something along those lines. Also using the area's non-profit-foundations to help fund the stadium like in Greensboro would not be a bad idea. They could set up an econmic development fund for the city. 2ndly, if they build a AAA stadium in uptown Charlotte, it has to be able to expand for the majors otherwise the citizens will feel jilted if they pay for a minor league stadium and then ten years down the road Charlotte want to build a major league stadium. If they make an expandable stadium, it would cut down the cost by just upgrading a AAA stadium to a major league Stadium and the taxpayers money won't be wasted on a minor league stadium that only get about 8 years of use. This has actually happened before. The current coliseum if fairly new and paid for by the citizens of Charlotte. Now they are tearing it down for a new uptown arena. If only city leaders during that time had planned better and built an arena uptown to begin with that could have been upgrade to today's NBA standards. I guess downtown revitalization wasn't the thing in the 1980s. But hopefully Charlotte won't repeat the same mistake with baseball because I believe Major League Baseball is right for Charlotte and I hope North Carolina gets a team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think they are going anywhere. The team owners have stated that they will contribute over $100 million to help fund a new stadium in downtown Miami. Since the team is now winning and gaining favor in the public's eye, they'll get there new ballpark. As far as Charlotte goes, its too small to support an MLB team and if the Marlins can't maket it in one of the country's largest markets, there's no way they will survive in Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

agreed lakelander.

Aside from renewed interest in the playoffs this year - with the Cubs and Redsox, people dont seem to care as much about baseball as they used to. Its really hard for small and medium sized markets to fill stadiums 80 times a year - during the workday many times. Of all the major sports in the U.S. baseball seems the most troubled. Id be more than happy to see a nice, well located Triple A stadium in downtown Charlotte or somewhere along the rail line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Major League Baseball is probabally the most expensive major league sport to operate. You also have to consider the number of home games a season which exceed more games than any other sport. Will Charlotteans spend their money on all those home games? This is probabally why major league baseball metros have at least 2.5 million and thats still considered a very small market for major league baseball. In about 10-15 years, Charlotte will be ready if they plan properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I don't think they are going anywhere

I don't think they are either. I think they are simply using this as a bargaining chip to get what they want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Twins did that as well. But if the Northern Virgina area found a way to build a stadium, they could consider moving there. it just depends on what makes the best economic sense for the team but I guess there would have to be a huge incentive to leave the Florida Market. However people thought the Charlotte Hornets weren't going to move and the fooled the city and left. Keep in mind Charlotte was one of the most successful teams in the league with the highest attendance numbers. That being said, you just never know what these major league teams are going to do. alot of the time, they play the pawn game though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.