If you didn’t already think that publicly funded sports stadiums were a bad idea, maybe the situation in Miami will convince you.

Back in 2009, taxpayers in Miami and Miami-Dade County voted to pay for about three quarters of the new $645 million Marlins Park, even though the team got to keep nearly all stadium revenue. Now, eight years later, the New York Times reports that the building will wind up costing about $2 billion over the life of the bonds. According to Field of Schemes, that’s about $900 million in present value, nearly twice as much as the original plan called for.

Stadium deals that take advantage of taxpayers are certainly nothing new. In cities across the country, sports owners in need (or want) of a new stadium have talked politicians and voters into shelling out public funds for venues that have little hope of paying for themselves.

But what makes the Marlins Park situation so frustrating for Miami-Dade taxpayers is that it seems hated Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will profit greatly and obviously from their expenditures. Loria, who has earned a reputation as one of the slimiest owners in sports, is looking to sell his team for around $1.2 billion, 15 years after buying it for $158 million. Miami-Dade mayor Carlos A. Gimenez estimates that the new park enhanced the team’s value by $500 million, and although Field of Schemes disputes that concept, it’s undeniable that Loria benefited from a deal that was disastrous for everyone else in the county.

The Marlins won this deal in just about every way. They moved from the football stadium they were playing in to a nice new venue, they were awarded the 2017 All-Star Game, and they continue to get almost all revenue from Marlins Park. And taxpayers get… a few baseball games and a big, fat bill. Gimenez said it well in the Times’ article:

 

“It’s a nice stadium for people to enjoy, and we got an All-Star Game out of it,” Mr. Gimenez said. But, he contended, “it’s the most horrible deal every other way.”

As Expos fans can attest, Loria has a unique ability to ruin everything around him and profit handsomely from it.

The Marlins are bad and will continue to be bad for the near future, while their unspectacular stadium continues costing taxpayers (and lining the team’s pockets). But there is one silver lining: At least Miami fans will soon be rid of their team’s odious owner.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

2 thoughts on “Taxpayers will reportedly wind up paying $2 billion for Marlins Park in latest stadium deal gone wrong

  1. Taxpayers always get shafted on these deals. Any politician that votes or approves of deals such as these need to be drawn and quartered.

  2. Loria was born and raised in a Jewish family[3] in Manhattan, the son of Ruth (Ost) and Walter J. Loria, a lawyer

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