The Real Deal Miami

Renovated Marlins stadium fails to draw fans, leaving cost of construction to taxpayers

April 18, 2013 01:00PM

Marlins Park

The Florida Marlins’ new baseball stadium will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion by the time a construction loan has been paid off, ESPN reported.

South Florida fans aren’t just frustrated by the Marlins’ win-lose record, ESPN said, but also because they’re underwriting the team’s pricey new ballpark.

A $91 million construction loan financed by Miami-Dade County over 40 years will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion once it is paid off.

“We put in about $350 million into this deal, but at the end of the day, we’re going to be paying over $2 billion in principle and interest because everything is backloaded,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told ESPN. “That’s basically shouldering the responsibility on our kids and our grandchildren 30 years into the future. That’s not right.”

The Marlins’ owner, Jeffrey Loria, reasoned the investment would pay for itself by drawing at least 30,000 fans for every game in its first season in the new stadium. Instead, those numbers were only reached for 27 percent of the team’s home games. Nine home games into the second season in the new ballpark, only 52 percent of the seats have been filled. [ESPN]Emily Schmall