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It’s Good to be the King

Last week three sports facilities were renamed. It really is not all that important which corporate moniker was slapped onto each building, an arena in Charlotte and two NFL stadiums in Miami and in Orchard Park, NY where the Buffalo Bills’ field will be sporting a corporate name for the first time since the 1970s. The Bills stadium was one of the first NFL facilities to get a corporate marketing partner. Buffalo’s owners will pocket the naming rights money even though Erie County, New York owns the stadium. That is not the only non-football revenue money Bills ownership gets as New York State kicks in  funding for something, perhaps some maintenance.

The Dolphins Stadium is owned by New York real estate baron Stephen Ross, who has in his portfolio the facility and the Miami NFL franchise. While he is using his money funding the renovation, Ross is getting plenty of subsidies. The corporate deal Ross cut may be worth as much as a quarter of a billion dollars, so that takes care of 71 percent of his $350 million fix up fees. Then there are some strange quirks Ross signed with local elected officials. Ross will get public money for various events. Miami-Dade will use tourist development money to pay the Dolphins $4 million for each Super Bowl he hosts and $3 million for a college football national championship game. A college playoff game would net $2 million. Events with 55,000 tickets sold would be worth $750,000. The elected officials think that would push Ross to get big events and that Miami-Dade would get back the money through ticket buyers dropping money in the Miami area. Ross also gets a check annually from the state for two million dollars because the team exists.  Ross will get big time football games in his joint and the rebuilt stadium will be paid by other people’s money.

By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.


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