Now Marlins Fans Have A New Stadium Not To Go To

March 19, 2009 – 9:27 pm by Matthew Glenesk

Are you kidding me Florida Marlins?

Seriously?

You’re asking for a new 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium that will cost $634 million?

In a depression? Not a recession – a depression.

Pretty ballsy for a franchise that ranked last in attendance each of the last three years. Last season, Florida averaged 16,688 fans a game. To put that in context, the second to last team (Kansas City) averaged 3,200 more fans than the Marlins. That’s right the Kansas City Royals, a team that hasn’t won a division title since 1985.

This week, the Marlins made their case to local government authorities why they need a new stadium. And they bought it, hook, line and sinker.

Some South Floridian politicians are concerned Marlins ownership will sell the team once the mostly city-funded stadium is built to turn a quick profit on the franchise. On Wednesday, changes were made to the potential contract that would guarantee more money to Miami and Miami-Dade County should Jeffrey Loria sell the team after the new stadium is built.

How much more? Well initially, the local governments were looking at splitting 18 percent of any profits made the first year of construction if the team was sold within nine years of the start of construction, with the percentage shrinking each year. Now, the Marlins are pledging the city and county will split 70 percent of the profits in year one if the team is sold, 60 percent in year two and 50 percent in year three. That’s quite the jump. Sounds like the Marlins were getting desperate.

Also included in Wednesday’s attempts to grease the wheels, the Marlins added an annual $500,000 commitment going to local charities, some of which would go to developing baseball-related activities within the community.

Hundreds picketed outside the Miami City Commissioner’s office on Thursday, but it’s not what you might think.

While some protested the stadium deal, most of the mob were unemployed contractors that are actually in favor of the deal. They are being promised at least 50 percent of the workforce needed to build the stadium will come from Dade County.

That’s great and all for the short-term, but isn’t that a stop gap solution for these workers? What happens when the stadium is done being built?

The deal now is headed to the Miami-Dade County Commission, which will decide on Monday whether to accept the Miami City Commissioners’ 3-2 decision in favor of the stadium deal.

You want to know how important the Sun-Sentinel thought the deal was? And mind you, this a deal 12 years in the making. On their homepage at 10 p.m. there was no headline, no link, no story on the front page. Instead, there was an interesting little tidbit on how a “Project Runway” alum was arrested for using her cat as a weapon. And how a rotten-toothed robber hit a bank in Lighthouse Point. Tantalizing stuff and all, but you’d think a $654 million stadium would be of interest. (Though in the effort of full disclosure, the Sentinel’s rival, The Miami Herald, led off with the stadium ordeal.)

I lived in South Florida for eight years. The only time I saw more than 25,000 fans at a Marlins game was during the World Series. The Marlins get decent gates when the Mets or Yankees come to town, but fans aren’t there to see the home team. The pic above and to the right is of an actual Marlins game (Sept. 12, 2001 2007 vs. Washington). Look at all those fans dressed up as orange empty seats.

Now, I’m not anti-new stadium. The Mets badly needed one. Shea Stadium was a dump. The rats in Shea even thought so. But there’s a major difference between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins: the Mets actually have fans.

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  1. 9 Responses to “Now Marlins Fans Have A New Stadium Not To Go To”

  2. Is using her cat as a weapon a euphemism? If so, I can see why it led.

    By Hick Flick on Mar 19, 2009

  3. Florida never played washington in 2001 ……you can find box scores online i wanted to see the attentendence for this game but you artical say’s sept 17,2001 they didnt play washington you liar

    By your wrong on Mar 20, 2009

  4. My bad, it’s supposed to read Sept. 12, 2007. Sorry for being a liar. Oh and the paid attendance for that game was 10,121.

    By TheBaker on Mar 20, 2009

  5. For what its worth, the Marlins are said to be in the top 10 consistently in the television ratings. I think the idea is that nobody goes to the games because nobody wants to make the hour long commute (north from Miami or south from Ft Lauderdale) in rush hour to get to the stadium and then sit through the 90 degree heat and a 2 hour rain delay. If the stadium is in the city at the old Orange Bowl site, one would think their attendance would go up drastically… Especially with the retractable roof. Just my two cents

    By Mike on Mar 20, 2009

  6. I agree with Mike. The issue isn’t the fans, it’s the hot weather in the summerand the rain. It is not fun at the park except at night and even then South Florida can be hot. If you lived in South Florida you knw that’s the truth. Everyone lives in side during the summer. Little Leagues begin in the winter so they can be over by the end of Spring. Having a roof will help attendance I’m sure.

    By Dianne on Mar 20, 2009

  7. Wow, that picture of the crowd during the Nats game is terrible. DId they announce the names of every individual who showed up for that game? From that picture, it looks like they could have.

    By JdotM on Mar 20, 2009

  8. its tough to fill seats when the beach is around the corner. Kansas has, well, no excuse. there’s just better things to do with your time. saying that, a retractable roof would help… a little

    By D. Cole on Mar 20, 2009

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