County officials say they won't support a bailout of the Florida Panthers hockey team without a better financial return for taxpayers. But the Panthers appear to have something else in mind. In the depths of the 59-page contract proposed by the team are items their representatives haven't publicized — terms that would make it more difficult for the public to receive a share of the profits at the publicly owned BB&T Center in Sunrise. A majority of Broward County commissioners support negotiating a new deal with the Panthers, who say they are hemorrhaging money and need a hotel-tax subsidy package worth $80 million or more over the coming 14 years. But the eventual deal will likely hinge on whether the Panthers agree to give more profits generated from the arena back to the county, commissioners said in interviews with the Sun Sentinel. Yet in the details of the lengthy contract are changes to the profit calculations from the current agreement — changes county officials confirmed are favorable to the Panthers, and not to the county. "As currently written in their proposal," Deputy County Administrator Rob Hernandez said, "it would definitely have an impact on our ability to share in any of the profits." An internal audit document from County Auditor Evan Lukic says the effect would be to push the profit-sharing threshold millions of dollars higher.
Arena profit-sharing a sticking point in Panthers deal
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Mar 18