The Philadelphia Phillies have a history with Clearwater, Florida. Since 1947, the Phillies spring training facility and ballpark has been found here. But over the last decade or so, the Phillies have struggled to get money out of local city leaders. In early 2019, the Phillies asked for $40 million from tourist taxes for ballpark renovations and were flatly rejected. But now they are trying again. Maybe. We think.
Now, Fort Lauderdale is getting ready to build a new $25 million park that will cost Inter Miami $13 million dollars (the city pays the rest) and should open by 2025. The park will include new fields for all sorts of sports and even a dog area. In addition, the city has now stopped the team from using the land for parking. The team was given a chance to pay the $1.4 million dollars in overdue building permit fees, but nothing was given, and the bills remain unpaid. Keep in mind that this is the same owner who has already been caught cheating by the MLS for under-reporting wages to foreign players. Yeah, that sounds like someone who will follow through.
Jacksonville has already given so much to the Jaguars. Remember when the city hosted the Super Bowl in 2015? Around $40 million dollars in taxpayer money was given to the team to improve the stadium just for that game. In 2013, the city gave the team another $45 million for upgrades and renovations. In 2015, the city split the bill with the team on a $90 million project....so another $45 million.
When the Tampa Bay Rays do construct a new ballpark, it will be with a significant amount of taxpayer money. For years, it has been reported that the Rays are “willing to finance half of the cost of a new (ballpark)”. How nice of them. But the Rays couldn't build it on their own if they wanted to because their owner isn't wealthy enough to fund such a project. This means the Rays will need as much taxpayer funds as possible.
Last week, Crain's Chicago Business had a good article discussing the financial issues that the city is facing with the current Bears stadium. Even though the Bears are trying to scam another city into paying for a new stadium, their current one continues to cost the city of Chicago millions of dollars. Basically, the city… Continue reading Chicago has $700M left in debt payments for Solider Field, Hotel Tax revenues falter
Keep in mind that the stadium continues to kill the city of Jacksonville's finances every year. In one specific year, the stadium cost the city $23 million while bringing in just $4.5 million. Nothing says good deal like an 80% loss.
Maybe patience is the way to go. Inter Miami seems like a truthful organization. Even though they are a new MLS team, it isn't like this ownership group has already been involved in a major cheating scandal. Except two years ago, when they tried signing several world-class players and lied about their salaries. MLS would eventually penalize the owner of Inter Miami and other executives with million dollar fines.
So even though this is public land and the parties will be receiving significant taxpayer support, the city of St. Petersburg is denying all interview requests or interviews in general. A big reason for the secrecy is likely due to the hope that the deal can be done as quickly as possible. Out of nowhere several weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Rays owner stated that if a deal wasn't done by the end of 2023, then there would be no deal at all.
Four years ago, David Beckham and his partners (Inter Miami) came to Florida wanting to build a brand new soccer stadium. They asked the city of Fort Lauderdale for $170 million in taxpayer money.