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Marlins Park to eventually cost Miami taxpayers $1.2 billion

Jan 25, 2013, 12:27 PM EDT

marlins park empty

The Miami Herald takes a look at the bonds that paid for Marlins Park and reveals their true cost to Miami taxpayers:

Miami-Dade borrowed about $400 million in that deal by selling bonds on Wall Street. During the commission discussion on the Dolphins plan, Mayor Carlos Gimenez mentioned one set of stadium bonds worth about $90 million would cost more than $1 billion to pay back. We at the ETM thought: Can that be true? The answer: yes.

Click through to read the gory details. Then never, ever believe a politician who claims that it’s a good idea to invest public dollars in a stadium project again.
  1. Shafer's Dealer - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    “Then never, ever believe a politician…”

    • flosox - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Because i’m a nerd like that…

      Just a quick Time-Value-Money calculation shows that with annual compounding you could earn $1.18B from a $91MM investment with just a 6.78% rate of return over 39 years. So, in theory, and again very simple approach here (with an actual payment schedule i could calculate the exact IRR for the bondholders and the APY to the taxpayers) the APR on the bond is 6.78% to the taxpayers; not that expensive. Also, as the article states, the rate is fixed, which means the cost in “real” dollars would be 6.78% minus the inflation for that year. Therefore, if we are running 3% inflation, the actual cost is 3.78%.

      However, and again as the article states, due to the long deferred interest/payment plan the balance collects interest for the first 15 years without any reduction in principal, meaning by the time you get to even start making payments, your principal balance has swollen to $243MM. That right there just tacked on an additional $152MM in interest due and payable. The kicker is you are now repaying $243MM over the remaining 24 years (not $91MM over 39 years); its essentially a negative amortization for the first 15 years.

      If anyone can find the exact payment schedule (the graph doesn’t give enough detail), i’d love to calculate the IRR on this thing. Its at least an equity multiple of 12x, which is pretty ridiculous, however its a 39 year payback.

      All this aside, its still a f’n boondoggle!

      • nightman13 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Geez flosox, I’d be more inclined to believe you if only you’d provide a little evidence to your argument…

      • lawyersportsfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Here’s another way to consider it: If Miami-Dade paid it straightline annually over 40 years, it’d be a 33.333% interest rate on the nose. Usury is the word that comes to mind.

  2. recoveringcubsfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Move the team to North Dakota! See what kind of stadium they get from the real ‘Merikans up there, you know, the no-taxpaying kind!

    But seriously, folks, where is Gator?

    • cur68 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Probably scribbling notes in his manifesto, tentatively titled “Why Scrooge McLoria Should Be Hung By His Guts”. Given his fondness for 2 mile long sentences I imagine Gator’ll be at it for another half hour.

      • zzalapski - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        At first, I misread “Guts” as “Nuts”.

        That would work too, actually.

    • indaburg - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      OG will probably also remind us how complicit the Herald was in pushing for the stadium project in the first place. It would have been more useful for the Herald to have informed people of these numbers prior to the stadium being built. As it stands now, they helped to push the knife in the taxpayers’ collective backs and now they’re letting them know how much it hurts.

      • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Oh, there are no adjectives that sound as loathsome as what they profess to convey semiotically for the Macondo Feeshwrapper. Five decades of shameless pandering to the right-wing Cuban exile dinosaur community, of subjecting its readers to an endlessly repetitive stream of cookiecutter Castro- and Chavez-bashing op-eds that merely had the names and dates rearranged, could not possibly be punishment enough for this polity. No, they had to get behind the vast public works boondoggle that would become Macondo Banana Massacre Field, that Gecko-Rodman bonmot squatting like a postmodernist sarcoma on the desecrated site of the Orange Bowl. And the louder their readership protested against their support of the inevitable manifold of larceny everyone could see coming, the more recycled Castro-bashing and Chavez-flogging the Feeshwrapper packed its op-ed pages with in hopes of anaesthetizing the muddled masses. What the Feeshwrapper lacks in journalistic professionalism, investigative persistence and narrative consistency, it more than makes up for in pandering proficiency, myopia, grammatical and syntactical ineptitude and hypocrisy so thick it sits just to the right of lead on the periodic table. It’s nice to know that if and when the Nemesis meteoroid crashes into the Atlantic, the Feeshwrapper building on the bay will be among the first of the futile edifices of human hubris to be washed away like a gob of sea grape jelly off a teflon pan.

      • badintent - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:59 AM

        @Old Gator
        When I was in Bal Harbour, the word on the street was Joe Robbie never paid a vendor, supplier or contractor for Joe Robbie Field. He died with hundreds of lawsuits pending. And was heard laughing in Hell.
        The one and only time Me and the good old boys went to a Fish game at Orange Bowl, we paid $20 to park our car in a private home and were happy to do so, after hearing about stolen cars and busted windows in the stadium parking lots.Little Havana may be little but big in crime.
        This spending mess is like Glendale , Zona, they build some many stadiums and areas, and with no financial statements to back them up.
        I remember when the Miam cubanoes flew some half ass plane “freedom” formation in the early 90s towards Cuba.Cuba had told them not to get within 2 miles of their borders. MIGs shot down the lead plane.Then the usual downtown demostrations for the media. No one in Broward country gave a hoot.These rich clowns should have a Bay of Horse(shit). I stopped going to South Beach, got disgusted with all the used tampx floating in the water, they used the beach as a public washroom.It’s like some macho passage of publity for these vermin.

  3. Gordon - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Miami must have hired Greece’s old finance minister.

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Greece’s old finance minister is still its finance minister. Regardless, he couldn’t have done a worse job than the one we had already.

      • kiwicricket - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        Ask the rest of the EU that same question…

  4. Jeff J. Snider - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    It’s actually a lot more than that, even. That $1.2 billion is only the cost for the $90 million bond — but there is $310 million in OTHER bonds! It’s actually about $2.4 billion total.

    • jayquintana - Jan 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      And to top it off, they don’t really LIKE baseball in Miami!

      • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        That’s utter horse shit, squirming with intestinal parasites. Drive by any park playground or diamond, any little league field in the spring, any of the universities down here with an athletic program, or stop in any sports bar during the baseball season.

        Baseball is much loved here, and before the fan base was vitiated by the rotten planning of MLB in its choice of venues, the rotten treatment of the fans by a succession of rotten owenerships, and the crowning accomplishment of the Macondo Banana Massacre Field ripoff, the various minor league, spring training and college stadiums down here were always packed with fans.

        Baseball the game is still loved. The Feesh under current ownership are detested, and with many good reasons.

  5. takavl - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Ad nauseam deja vu all over again in banana republic FL. Like I said previously, at least the codgers, “surfers,” slackers, and arty-deco types in St. Pete didn’t vote for a similar public-finance/private gain cornhole party such as this…well, didn’t vote for it YET. “I mean, didja see the wet-dream drawings for the Thunderdome’s, I mean the Trop’s replacement? Killer, dude!” Let’s pay for some douchey rich guy’s vanity team…no, let’s not.

    See also Jet Blue Park for the training variety…

  6. henryd3rd - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    And now the Dolphins want the State and Broward and Dade counties to pay for improvements in their stadium? Please! This may not be the time to for billionaires to ask for financial help when these counties have fired teachers, firemen, policemen and cut funding to hospitals.

    Why can’t they copy Jerry Jones and build or upgrade their own stadium? I’m sure Steve Ross and his multi-millionaire partners have resources at their disposal. Why?

    • jimbo75025 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Don’t be fooled. Public money was used for a decent % of Cowboys stadium. JJ was responsible for his % plus the over-runs which amounted to quite a bit though.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        Jerry Jones paid for around $900 million of the $1.2 billion that the stadium eventually cost. But the thing about Dallas is that they have a fan base. The Dolphins could, and should, move to LA if the local municipality doesn’t chip something in to keep the team around. Why should the owners take all the risk of building a stadium without the city kicking in some cash, especially when they get the benefit of having the local football team and all the extra revenue that comes along with it? It’s just crazy to me that people jump on this “no public funding for stadium” nonsense without thinking about it from the other side.

      • nategearhart - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Why shouldn’t the owner of a business take on the risk associated with owning the business? Gee I dunno…America?

      • lanflfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        I agree with Chris, owners and cities should be splitting the costs. Team owners should foot around 75% of the bill for a new stadium, but the city certainly has a financial incentive to have a pro sports team. How many NFL cities bid on the Super Bowl every year? Why? The side benefit of one game can pour millions into your local economy, from hotels and restaurants to all sorts of other shops and stores, most of which have nothing to do with the game itself, but in servicing us humans who needs to eat, sleep and shop before and after the game.

        No city should EVER finance even half a stadium, let alone the entire park. But to say the city, country and state governments should not kick in something, say around 25%, is ignoring the economic reality of what a sports stadium does for the local economy.

      • nategearhart - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        Numerous studies have already demonstrated that “what a sports stadium does for the local economy” is practically nil.

      • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:52 AM

        When Pau Allen was worth around$$$ 35 Billion give or take a billion , he got Seattle to cough up $400 million for his new football digs, he put in $300 million of his money, CHUMP CHANGE FOR HIM.hE told Seattle take it or leave it , he was gonna move the team. I will never go to his Jimi Hendrix museum and pay $25 , even though I love Hendrix,. screw Allen,

  7. Gordon - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    It’ll be funny to see how this impacts the Dolphins effort to get county to pay 1/2 of the $400 mil for their stadium renovation (you know, to get the “old person” stench out).

    They’re proposing to finance it with an increase in the hotel bed tax, which impacts out-of-towners, so they feel no one will care.

    Based on this story, looks like that increased bed tax needs to go pay off the bonds, not another billionaire playhouse

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      The impact on the Dolfeens has been immediate and uncompromising. Even though there are still a couple of politicians whoring out loud for the Feens, most are running for cover like meadow mice under the flyways during the annual raptor migrations. The team, and a lot of their would-be puppets on that malfunctioning septic drainfield called the Macondo County Commission, are shyly and quietly talking about a half-price fallback renovation already – and whaddya wanna bet the voters shove that back up the capacious orifices from which it issued?

      • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Whoops, I take it back. A bunch of them voted to instruct the Mayor to “begin negotiating” with the Dolphins.

        Time to get the recall petitions out again. Where are my Dr. Scholl’s gel pads?

      • badintent - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Funny but true ! Coral Gables has always had to pay for Miami ‘s corrupt and broke government with high property taxes. I worked at Blockbuster in the office next to Wanye’s world conference room. Talk about Marino running for cover after only 3 weeks on the job for the Fish. I know his pain.
        As for a $400 million reno job at Joe Robbie,that comes about because of Commiss Tag bitching about the washrooms not “being up to his standard” the last time the SB was held there. Pathetic waste of tax payer $$$ so he can whip his rearl arse with a tile floor.
        What the city needs is another Hurricane Andrew. then another $100 bilion dollars comes in and they get a new everything. Broward County got a migration of 50,000 Dade county ex-residents waving new FEMA checks to buy a new condo out by the old Hollywood Area. Miss that tin shack !

  8. brewcrewfan54 - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Holy crap that is one expensive single use building.

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Dual use. Vagrants sleep against the retaining walls on the east side of it sometimes.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Yay! A silver lining!

      • badintent - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        REeal funny. How much is Kimmel paying you to write his jokes ??

  9. vallewho - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    serves them right.

  10. cur68 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    All that public money for such a poor product on the field? This whole business stinks like 4 day old fish. Sorry, feesh.

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      There’s a product on the field?

      Pelicans, probably.

      • cur68 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Yep. That’s why it stinks of feesh.

  11. cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I SUCK at financial BS, but is there a typo there? 90 million in bonds will cost 13 times as much to pay off? the Stadium cost alot more than 90 million..where did the rest of the $ come from. Was it maybe 900 million in bonds?

    • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Reviewed the article…I have to say I no longer hold Loria responsible as much as this obviously corrupt County Commision. Thirty Years? I assume everyone here realizes that within half of that time they will be looking for a major rennovation of Macondo Banana Massacre field. Also, I am sure before then the Dolphins will expect an entirely new stadium, regardless of how the current rennovation plan works out. I love baseball and NFL football…but this is total BS.

      • umrguy42 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Heck, in 30 years, the Marlins could either be gone to another city, or clamoring for ANOTHER ballpark anyway!

      • badintent - Jan 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        Not to worry, Al Gore and Hollywood willl create a new global warming super Hurricane that will send a 200 foot tidal wave over the stadium walls , filling it with more …..Fish !! Plus sharks , rays, jelly fish, baraccudas, etc.OSHA and EPA will put it in a SuperFund Toxic site file and soon……………… a new staudim built with Fed $$$. Thank you Washington for your support

    • flosox - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      Cackalackyank: see my post above.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Thanks flosox for the extra math… Boondoogle thats a good polite way to describe it.

  12. jesse1834 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Doesn’t surprise me after reading this link

    The citizens of Miami deserve better.

    • ishwishfish - Jan 27, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      You beat me to it!

  13. ravensos - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    maybe if florida collected income tax they wouldn’t have to take such ridiculous bonds..

    • miketreedy - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Wow – what a back words way of looking at it. Like giving these government bureaucrat idiots more money through state income taxes is the way to solve the problem. I am guessing you voted for Obama.

    • jimbo75025 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      Why the heck would it matter? The state is going to spend every penny it gets-income tax or no income tax. When needs arise, bonds will still be issued.

      The bigger concern for pro sports owners is going to be the current situation in Sacramento where public funds were approved for a new stadium and the team still got yanked. Rational voters may start thinking more than twice going forward.

      • miketreedy - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        The difference is at some point banks will stop lending to a city or the rates get too expensive. That has already been happening since the real estate crash. When you pay income taxes they can just keep on spending. If a city goes bankrupt not paying loans based on dumb decisions at least you the tax payer still has money in his bank account.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        Well it could matter. If the state had an income tax, it could have a better funded sports and exposition authority. This authority could then assist in funding rennovation of venues and the infrastructure for new ones. The thing is Florida wants to maintain its edge for being a retiree destination, and they sit on a Tourist Dollar gold mine so there is always another few % they can add to bed and entertainment taxes. At least until somebody builds another Disney World near the East Coast…

      • jimbo75025 - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        @miketreedy-Exactly ! Paying an income tax simply leaves more money to be spent by the government which usually ends up badly. In the end, the sales taxes in states with no income tax are high anyway, the difference of course being that those prudent enough to save money instead of living paycheck to payheck are not punished.

      • miketreedy - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:09 PM

        Jimbo – you are right on. Most of the fools in here obviously don’t get it based on on the 22 thumb downs I got. I guess they can’t figure out numbers beyond baseball stats. These are the people that obviously need the government to think for them because they can’t do it themselves.

        I moved to Texas for that very reason. I will be able to pay for my kids college just on the money I will save from not paying the state income tax I was paying when living in IL or NY.

      • jrbdmb - Jan 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        “The difference is at some point banks will stop lending to a city or the rates get too expensive.”

        The politicos in Miami have already shown that no loan is too expensive for them. I have to add that they should be horsewhipped daily for signing off on a loan that’s going to put such a burden on their own children.

  14. Stiller43 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Read the headline then clicked “comments” for Gator…

  15. giantssb42champs - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Lots of extra taxes on those Latin American trust fund babies partying in SoBe.

  16. umrguy42 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    “I’ll gladly pay you 13 times Tuesday for a hamburger today…”

  17. paperlions - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Well, if you are a Miami-Dade resident, it appears that you have 13 more years to move or die in order to avoid having your tax dollars go toward pay back those bonds, right?

    So….just plan ahead and pass the problem on to those who replace you….just like politicians do.

  18. thatswhatsgooood - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    You know most of us made some bad choices in 2011 and 2012, and then when the apocalypse didn’t happen on December 21st, most of us said “oh shit, wtf do we do now?”

  19. mybrunoblog - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Maybe we will finally see the end of the publicly financed stadiums. The owners and leagues can no longer sell this crap to a gullible public.

    • bravojawja - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      What part of “gullible” do you not understand?

      • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        I know what you mean, people are gullible. However the leverage of these Corporate tycoon owners to play the ‘If I don’t get the stadium I want, I will take my marbles and my team and go somewhere else’ is just about to hit zero. It used to be there was always an up and coming market that could be played against the local pols desire to hold the line against a new stadium financed by taxpayers, but now all governments are broke, or trying not to go broke. There is only so much manipulation of hotel and entertainment taxes that can be done before these cities price themselves out of other lucrative convention and tourist dollars. Being gullible is about to get suffocated by cold hard financial reality

    • chc4 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      You’re mad at the wrong people. It’s local politicians that push this stuff through. Can’t blame the owners for asking. Local elected are supposed to act in the best interests of their residents. 100% of the blame lies with them.

  20. riverace19 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    The Marlins might be the worst run franchise in baseball… And that is said among a sea of poorly run baseball franchises

    • Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      However badly run the Feesh might be, they cannot hold the tip of a fiber optic nanocable to the Macondo County Commission.

  21. jm91rs - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I can’t understand why these teams were able to build single use stadiums with tax payer dollars. At the very least if the citizens are gonna get hosed on a stadium deal, it seems like they should get both professional teams into one massive stadium and therefore a lot less tax money.

    Here in Cincinnati the county is broke because they gave the Bengals and Reds pretty much everything they wanted. A massive dual use stadium would have cost probably 1/4 less money, after interests we’re talking hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars. Unbelievable how these things happen.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Starting in the 1990’s the Dual Purpose Donuts became viewed as disasters. To a certain extent they were. In Baseball the arguements focused on the sight lines caused by the different dimensions of an NFL and MLB field, there were also scheduling issues in the late summer/ early fall and also astro turf and its successors were viewed as an almost necessity in those places. On the other side of the coin there is a long list of promising NFL careers that ended on carpet seams in those places. When Macondo Banana Massacre Field opened it left the Oakland A’s and the Toronto Blue Jays (When the Bills make a visit) as the only two MLB teams sharing a “Dual Purpose” Stadium with an NFL franchise. Again this was fueled, and made poosible by the expanding economics of the 1990’s, where an owner could threaten local pols with a move to city x or y and be taken seriously. Now that it not the case, and maybe the current economic reality may tip things back toward a single multi use building however the only place that might happen for about 20+ years would be in Oakland.

      • jimbo75025 - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        Great deal of that came about also due to the expanding popularity of the NFL. 48K seating is great for baseball, but the demand for football makes that capacity not work so much. Personally, my experiences with the donut stadiums for baseball were far more preferable than their single use replacements-especially from a ticket price standpoint

    • lanflfan - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      Dual purpose stadiums are ugly, cement cereal bowls that are built for multiple purposes and are horrible for all of them. While I understand the economy of scale they represent, the reality is the 1970’s vintage cereal bowls utterly failed as baseball stadiums, and were not much better for football. Both sports use very different fields, and round, bowl-like stadium fit neither well for both sight lines and access to the field of play. I, for one, am glad they are largely gone.

    • mazblast - Jan 28, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      Somewhat unrelated, but perhaps you can answer this question, jm91rs–

      Back c. 1999, the Powers That Be And Who Are Not To Be Questioned in Hamilton County, Ohio decided to build the new baseball stadium on that undersized piece of property known as The Wedge (for outsiders, that was the land immediately to the east of Riverfront Stadium). Opponents of that site proposed building the stadium on a larger piece of property known as Broadway Commons, two blocks east and eight blocks north of there. The Powers That Be And Who Are Not To Be Questioned said the Broadway Commons site was too close to the county jail and adjacent low-income areas, and that fans would be in danger. The Powers That Be And Who Are Not To Be Questioned won out, the ballpark was built on The Wedge, and due to the configuration of the site, faces the wrong freaking way.

      Cut to a decade later. Limited casino gambling is approved in Ohio, with one casino to be built in Cincinnati. Where do the Powers That Be And Who Are Not To Be Questioned decide it should be located? Yep, Broadway Commons, the same site on which it was too risky to build a baseball stadium before. Still by the County Jail, still adjacent to low-income, high-crime areas. Just what you want nearby when people will be walking around with lots of cash in their pockets.

      Moral of the story–lies and blatant self-interest are all you should ever expect from politicians when it comes to public facilities (and anything else, for that matter). It’s not just a Miami thing, Gator, although Macondo takes it to a far greater level.

  22. dcfan4life - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Can anyone tell me why the city of Miami hasn’t sued Jeff Loria yet? If its going to cost them billions in tax dollars for a stadium to a team that was just blown up, i swear there are grounds there for a lawsuit.

  23. sdbolt - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Yiiiiiikes. How the hell did that get approved? Good luck citizens of Miami.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      One word- Politics

  24. tripleg3 - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Bottom line loria is worst owner in baseball

    • mazblast - Jan 28, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      Well, SOMEBODY has to be the worst at anything. Unfortunately for the baseball fans of Montreal and Miami, they got baseball’s version.

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