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A Radical Idea for Changing How Cities Finance Stadiums - Mike Riggs - The Atlantic Cities


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<Nevertheless, the city and the county are going forward with an initial contribution of $20 million apiece in tax dollars to make the stadium a reality. The full cost is detailed by the Orlando Sentinel:

The plan has the city of Orlando and Orange County covering $20 million in costs each, while the owners of the Orlando City Soccer Club – who want the franchise — would pay $30 million. A ticket surcharge that fans would pay per seat could provide $10 million toward construction costs, while other local government and private contributions could pay for the rest.

Next year, the team would seek $30 million in state sales tax rebates to finish a proposed second phase, though state lawmakers rejected doing that this year.

Combining the $85 million stadium cost with an expected $70 million franchise fee to enter the MLS brings the total value of the team to $155 million.

So far, so awful. But a member of the Orange County Commission has an interesting idea that would make the financing deal a little less bad. In August, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke suggested that taxpayer money be treated more like an investment rather than a handout. He floated the following plan:

Make Orange County a member of the partnership on a funding basis, which would be a percentage of the stadium costs and a percentage of the total stadium/franchise fee costs, of $155 million.

During the course of the agreement, with the City of Orlando (20-25 years), City Soccer would share with Orange County, a pro-rata share of the yearly naming rights, proceeds from stadium vending and other City Soccer sponsored events. These proceeds would go to Orange County Parks and Recreation for soccer specific expenses.

If all the projections we have seen and heard are correct, MLS and Orlando City Soccer will be successful, as is the case with the Magic. Furthermore, the franchise value will escalate in a similar fashion. Therefore, include a provision that when the franchise is sold, Orange County be treated as a partner and share in the profits.

According to Clarke, Orange County would be entitled to 13 percent of Orlando City Soccer Club’s revenue. It’s a clever (and radical) challenge to the status quo: Instead of making anti-subsidy advocates explain why they hate their home city, Clarke is essentially asking wealthy and powerful people to explain why they think taxpayers should fork over money without getting anything back.>

Did someone say PARKS AND RECREATION?

It's a good idea to make the owners share the wealth since they're asking the city to share the cost:

According to Clarke, Orange County would be entitled to 13 percent of Orlando City Soccer Club’s revenue. It’s a clever (and radical) challenge to the status quo: Instead of making anti-subsidy advocates explain why they hate their home city, Clarke is essentially asking wealthy and powerful people to explain why they think taxpayers should fork over money without getting anything back.

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