The Real Deal New York

Citi Field construction bond returns rise with Mets’ triumphs

Team projects 2016 attendance will rise by 500,000 to 3.1 million, raising revenue by $25M

October 23, 2015 01:41PM

Citi Field in (inset: Fred Wilpon)

Citi Field in Queens (inset: Fred Wilpon)

With the Mets on their way to their first World Series in 15 years, the team is projecting booming attendance in 2016. That’s good news for the holders of Citi Field construction bonds.

The Mets expect 3.1 million people to come to the 42,000-seat Flushing Meadows-Corona Park stadium next year, up from 2.6 million in 2015. That rise will boost revenue for the team by $25 million.

The team sold $613 million in municipal bonds in 2006 to fund construction of the stadium. Those bonds are rated Ba1 by Moody’s Investors Service and BB+ by Standard & Poor’s. The team issued $82.3 million more in insured debt in 2009, the year Citi Field opened.

The increased attendance would result in a “meaningful” rise in the amount of revenue available to pay out coupons on its bonds, Nuveen Asset Management’s John Miller told Bloomberg News. “I’m sure this season is going to help,” he told the site.

Citi Field bonds rarely trade rarely because of their high yields. One bond with a 5 percent coupon rate, callable in 2017, traded earlier this week at a yield range between 2.8 percent and 3.4 percent. That’s compared to 0.3 percent for a top-rated bond maturing in a year.

The Mets, owned by real estate developer Fred Wilpon, beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 Wednesday night, winning the NLCS. They’ll face either the Kansas City Royals or the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series

Early last year, the Related Companies, along with Sterling Equities, sought to build a shopping mall on top of the Citi Field parking lot, but their plans were severely delayed by a lawsuit that argued the land was technically a park, and so new construction required approval from the state legislature. [Bloomberg]Ariel Stulberg