Florida Panthers Submit Another Proposal Asking for Public Money

The Florida Panthers' quest to get money from the county continues after their first attempt was send back with extreme prejudice.

Last month, Broward County commissioners pored over the Panthers' 57-page proposal in which the team sought a hotel-tax subsidy package worth $80 million over the next 14 years. The proposal also included developing 22 acres north of the BB&T Center into a casino-hotel that the county is also supposed to pay for. But, commissioners concluded, the overall deal would seem to benefit only the Panthers.

So, the Panthers went back to the drawing board and offered another proposal on Friday. No, they haven't lowered their asking price.

See also: Florida Panthers Asking for Public Money, but Proposal Seems to Benefit Only the Team

The Panthers claim that they're losing around $20 million a year and that they need public funds to keep from being dissolved from the NHL.

The team had originally put out a proposal for something around $70 million at the beginning of the year. But the proposal handed in last month said they needed $80 million or more.

For their second go at the proposal, the Panthers have taken out how the profits are figured with premium seating, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The team's original proposal included taking $4.5 million of its annual payment off the books and having it picked up by Broward County. The team also asked the county to contribute $500,000 a year toward maintenance. And that doesn't seem to have changed.

Once net operating income or other funds goes over $12 million, the team will get 80 percent while the county will receive 20 percent of the profits, according to the new proposal. Which is to say, this is pretty much the same thing the commissioners scoffed at to begin with.

In addition, the Panthers are asking to be excused for any debts remaining on the BB&T Center, as well as relief from a $1 million a year property insurance fee (which the county would then pay), a $7.5 million arena maintenance fund, also paid for by the county.

The Panthers are also still asking for relief from paying an arena renewal fund in which they would put up only $250,000 at the most.

Meanwhile, the team says it'll give $500,000 a year to tourism -- which is something it's already doing. And that it'll repay a pair of loans it says total to $10.1 million back to the county.

County officials have yet to comment about the latest proposal, but they have said they won't support a proposal without a better return for Broward's taxpayers.

Back in September, the Panthers were bought for $240 million by Cliff Viner and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment to a group led by New York businessman Vincent Viola.

The Panthers have had an operating loss of $12 million for the 2011-12 season and were worth $170 million, according to Forbes.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph