Sports

Florida Marlins Hope to Stimulate South Florida By Sucking $634 Million Out of Miami's Economy

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Let's say you own a mediocre ballclub in a state that has been rocked hard as hell by the recession. You don't want to go to Disneyworld up north a bit in Orlando—you want a brand-new taxpayer-funded stadium that will line your pockets even as jes' plain folks start selling apples for a living.

Miami-Dade County, where the 13-member commission will be asked Monday to bankroll the lion's share of funding for the $634 million stadium and parking complex in Little Havana.

With the county's blessing there, the mirage is closer to reality: a new 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium to rise in 2012 for the financially strapped ball club with a history of low payroll and attendance….

"It's just like beating the Cubs in Game 6. We still have to come back and play Game 7," a buoyant Marlins President David Samson said moments after the vote, recalling his team's storied 2003 playoff run.

The Marlins won Game 7 in a rout, then took the World Series against the New York Yankees.

Yes, it is just like beating the Cubs. Except for the part about building a new stadium on the backs of local taxpayers. Other than that, it's practically indistinguishable.

Whole story here.

Hat tip: Margaret Griffis.

Reason.tv did the math on how much professional sports teams cost local economies. When you tally up all the subsidies and other drains on taxpayers, they end up dinging residents for about $40 a year, whether you go to the games or not, says University of Maryland at Baltimore County economist Dennis Coates. Watch below for details. And go here for embed code and related links.

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  1. The masses will have their colloseum to stage their circuses.

  2. I am lifelong sports fan as well as a libertarian. It’s not easy to be both, because of stuff like this. We just went through the same thing in New York (the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets new Citi Field) and New Jersey (the Prudential Center). I want to see games and support my teams, but at the same time it’s hard to keep giving money to owners who abuse eminent domain and demand taxpayer financing of their new stadiums.

  3. Yo, fuck the Marlins.

  4. That’s Disney World, Nick. Expect a cease-and-desist letter for misuse of the Disney trademark in 45 minutes. They’re that efficient.

    Anyway, I thought El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles had established that these public edifices are bad for the budget. Didn’t Miami get the memo?

  5. @EllisWyatt
    Do you find the Green Bay Packers model to be more acceptable?

  6. Hey not sticking up for the proposal, but calling the Marlins a “mediocre ballclub” Isn’t exactly fair. They have won 2 world series since 1997, with both teams being built from the ground up.

    They have mediocre (or worse) fans, a mediocre owner, mediocre finances, but they are actually a pretty solid baseball organization.

  7. As a sports fan whose favorite team would likely rely on county and state money to saty where they are, I still can’t justify this. Sports teams should be financed by the ticket buyers and advertising for TV and radio. If the owner wants more than they can collect that way, they can use their own damn money if the stadiums produce such great revenue, it should be a justifiable business model.

  8. That’s Disney World, Nick. Expect a cease-and-desist letter for misuse of the Disney trademark in 45 minutes.

    Actually, it’s Walt Disney World.

  9. the Mets new Citi Field

    LOL, a book of jokes could be written with the irony here. Is it actually still officially called Citi Field?

  10. As a resident of SoFlo, I’d like to point out that no one outside of the Cuban community will be willing to venture into Little Havana, especially for night games.

    Economic stimulus my aching ass…

  11. Disney allows “Disney World” in common usage and has a registered trademark on it. However, in official press usage, you’d better say Walt Disney World? with a smile, or they’ll sic a giant rat on you.

  12. “LOL, a book of jokes could be written with the irony here. Is it actually still officially called Citi Field?”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they do. I work for a company that has a very famous stadium named after it. Naming rights don’t come cheap. About two years ago, we looked into ending the contract, but there were poison-pillesque clauses that made getting out of the contract early untenable.

  13. Pro Libertate is not kidding either. Just ask those guys from that computer magazine from a few years ago (sorry, forgot the title, but it was a big story). Disney, the MPAA and others related sued the hell out of the magazine for publishing links on their web page!

    Had something to do with DVD players or somethng.

  14. The official website for the resort is http://www.disneyworld.com. The resort’s official name the The Walt Disney World Resort. I don’t think they give a shit if you call them chuck e. f’in cheese as long as you show up with money.

  15. Nick,

    I’m sorry, but that is not the correct answer. Next category, Children Who’ve Been Sent Cease-and-Desist Letters by Disney.

  16. Mickey is pissed. but he will soon return to Vahala

  17. PL, link? Now, I’m curious.

  18. Sorry, I don’t have anything on hand and can’t look right now. There’s probably something out there if anyone can Google it. I can recall offhand a school getting a letter for something the kids did–maybe a mural or posted drawings?

    Anyway, the point is that Disney is scary litigious and jumps very quickly if anyone touches its marks or copyrighted works. We steer the hell clear of them at my company, that’s for sure.

  19. True dat, PL. They are legendary in their ferocity, mythical in their omniscience.

    Do. Not. Fuck. With. The. Mouse.

  20. A Disney lawyer is probably reading this thread as we type.

    I’m getting creeped out, man.

  21. Reason shall desist from mentioning the 2003 NLCS for personal health reasons.

  22. People still watch baseball? Are they the ones who still buy newspapers?

  23. @guy: Yes we do, and no we aren’t.

  24. Only $634 million? I just can’t get worked up over anything less than a billion anymore.

  25. No shit, 634 mill? that’s chump change.

  26. Maybe there will be a 90% tax on athletes that play in taxpayer financed stadiums next.

  27. So who’s the Bartman in this deal?

    He is the sole reason the Marlins won game 6.

  28. Hell, give ’em ours! Its not like the Nats DESERVE their $600M edifice!

  29. No shit, 634 mill? that’s chump change.

    In fact it kinda makes me nostalgic.

  30. It seems like the public perceives a million dollars in the hands of a private party as being equivalent to a billion dollars in the hands of a government official.

    What’s really odd, though, is that bribes or campaign contributions that are only in the $10,000 – $100,000 range often sway the spending of billions of dollars. Are American politicans amateurs when it comes to bribery?

  31. Maybe there will be a 90% tax on athletes that play in taxpayer financed stadiums next.

    Don’t give them any ideas!

  32. Maybe there will be a 90% tax on athletes that play in taxpayer financed stadiums next.

    Hmm. Your ideas interest me. Do you have a newsletter I could subscribe to?

    You know, the opportunities for mischief as a US Congressman are just unlimited. Can you imagine the fun if you were to introduce an amendment to AIG tax bill to this effect. I’d love to hear people try to distinguish one group of tax-supported millionaires from another.

  33. Fuck’em. Loria worked with MLB to destroy the Montreal Expos and is now working to fleece the taxpayers of Miami. Hope you’re happy with your team Miami. Only way this story gets better is when the Nationals fold and move from D.C.

  34. No link to the awesome Peter Bagge cartoon?

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/120368.html?pg=2

  35. @EllisWyatt
    Do you find the Green Bay Packers model to be more acceptable?

    You mean the model where they “had” to spend $250 million of public money to renovate the stadium? Where the President of the organization appeared in a TV commercial making (thinly) veiled threats that they would “have to” move the team if they didn’t get their Atrium and more skyboxes?

    At least there was a higher proportion of taxpayers in Green Bay/Brown County who could see through all the lies than normal; as late as a week before the election it was looking doubtful that it would get approved. The tax ended up passing with “only” 51% of the vote.

  36. Keeping the Evil Empire from winning the World Series has to be worth a few tens of millions all by itself.

  37. So who’s the Bartman in this deal?

    He is the sole reason the Marlins won game 6.

    Stop it. Bartman didn’t boot an easy double play ball on the next batter. Alex Gonzalez seriously owes Bartman a fruit basket every Christmas for taking the blame for that game and making everyone forget about his shoddy shortstop play.

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