The Florida Panthers have asked Broward County at least twice recently for additional public funding, and twice they’ve rejected. But apparently the third time might be the charm as the team looks to offset significant financial losses.
County officials view the new request more favorably, saying it directs public money into the county-owned arena itself, not to the hockey team. The Panthers organization lost $36 million last year, and $27.3 million the year before, according to a county consultant's analysis.
Among the provisions of the deal: The Panthers would keep making $5.3 million in annual debt payments to the $140.76 million county still owes on the arena; and receive $86 million in help from the county, or $6.6 million annually, but the payments will be frontloaded at $12 million at the start.
(Not listed: The money the team will generate when Jagr auctions the mullet after the season.)
There’s also a provision that the Panthers would share money with the county if the NHL expands, as well as this:
The new deal requires the team to return the county's money should it file bankruptcy or leave. If the team is sold, the county would share in the profits. And if the team and the arena do well, the county would share in the gains.
Again, the immediate reaction is going to be “UH OH PANTHERS” but this is good news. If the county’s willing to step up financial and help this team, that makes it more stable than it would be if, say, it was rejected for a third time.
For the Panthers, hopefully winning eventually solves many things. Not everything. But many things.
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