| El Jefe |

Broward Approves Bad Florida Panthers Deal. Blame Huizenga.

Broward County Commissioners Tuesday agreed to pay millions for the financially challenged Florida Panthers to stay at the BB&T Arena. That is a bad idea. 

The team will get $12 million next year as part of an $86 million bailout. Commissioners were left with no good choices because they still owe a lot of money on the Sunrise arena and need a tenant. Commissioners Lois Wexler, Mark Bogen, Tim Ryan, Barbara Sharief, and Dale Holness opted for the deal. Mayor Marty Kiar and commissioners Beam Furr and Chip LaMarca voted against it. Thank God for them. 

Commissioners were told they would end up having to pay more than $86 million if the team left. The Panthers' fifth owner, Doug Cifu, was ecstatic. "We're here to stay," he said.   

The team is among the worst attended in the NHL ranking above only the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes among he 30 professional teams, drawing only about 13,000 fans per game as compared with 21,000 for the top draws.

Whom do we have to tank for the $221 million monstrosity which will now be subsidized with even more tourist dollars? H. Wayne Huizenga, the garbage and Blockbuster magnate, who helped fashion the deal that brought the team here from the old Miami Arena. You may remember that Huizenga was also responsible for selling off the Marlins team the first time after it won the World Series in 1998 and that he was for a time owner of the perennially mediocre Miami Dolphins.

While Huizenga is not directly responsible for the bad deal — and he has done amazing things including major endowments to South Florida institutions like Nova Southeastern University — we should all pause this morning to give him a Bronx cheer.

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