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UPDATE: Marlins Stadium Vote Hanging On By a Thread PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 13 February 2009 16:01

Marlins Stadium Hanging By a Thread

UPDATE: Miami city commissioners adjourned today's vote amidst turmoil and have moved to continue the meeting/vote on March 12th to allow the Marlins and city officials to address the changes that were proposed at today's meeting and allow a fifth commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones who was absent today, to be at the dais for the vote then.

City and county officials are set to vote on funding for a new Marlins stadium in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, but at the moment, the vote is stalled at the city level before even getting to the county vote, and hangs in a deadlock. As reported by the Miami Herald:

A vote on the Florida Marlins stadium plan descended into chaos Friday afternoon after City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff demanded significant modifications to the deal in exchange for his support.

Those modifications included making the team partially responsible for cost overruns at the stadium's planned parking garage and greater financial benefits to city and county government when it comes to stadium naming rights and profits from the possible future sale of the team.

Without Sarnoff's support, commissioners were deadlocked in a 2-2 tie, which for now would kill the deal.

Neil deMause of Field of Schemes has been watching the proceedings online this afternoon, and gives the following play-by-play as to how everything has gone sour.

  • After several hours of discussion, the Miami City Commission voted on approving the Marlins' final stadium contracts. Two members, Joe Sanchez and Angel Gonzalez, voted yes, and two, Marc Sarnoff and Tomas Regalado, voted no, creating a stalemate. Regalado said in explaining his vote that he wanted a new stadium, but the agreement as presented was a "very bad deal" for the city of Miami.
  • Sarnoff then proposed a series of three amendments: 1) The Marlins would pay for cost overruns on the stadium's $94 million parking garages, in exchange for getting rental income from a retail tenant of the garage building, if one could be found; 2) the city would get a cut of naming-rights revenue, since it's putting up a share of the construction cost; 3) if the Marlins were sold, the city and county would get their stadium costs paid back before the team would be allowed to reap any profits from the sale.
  • There was a proposal to recess for ten minutes, so that commissioners could check with the Marlins to see if these amendments would be acceptable to them. Right before that happened, though, Sanchez shouted that he was withdrawing his support for the motion, saying, "This will kill the deal!"

As Neil notes, the group recessed anyway, huddled with Marlins president David Samson to see if the club were willing to budge on the amendments, to wit, Samson came back saying that the naming rights and any share of the club sale price being shared was off the table. As for the team share in any cost overruns from the $94 million parking complex planned at the site, Samson said that the Marlins would not do that, but would accept whatever parking facility the city could build for $94 million. Sanchez then declared the deal dead, and now, another recess is occurring.

As for 4:15pm ET, the commission was still in recess. Details as they become available (watch online here)

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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