Are you kidding me Florida Marlins?
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.