The Mariners Are Getting a Sweet Deal on Their Rent and We're Going to Pay Their Bills

Comments

1

I feel truly sorry for Seattle's current homeowners, renters, and taxpaying citizens.
This is bullshit.

2

Well, at least they aren't rubbing our noses in their simultaneous large gifts to the GOP tax cut crazy car.

As much as I love baseball, and worship the semi-divine immortal Sue Bird, I've also finally concluded a major city doesn't really need big time sports teams.

3

"Some pretty simple math (it’s multiplication, okay) applying that figure to the Mariners' square-footage of office space shows that the Mariners’ rent is $153,453 below market value."

There are so many issues with this article. First, you mention $1.5M in rent, $1.5M in revenue sharing, $3.25M in contribution to the Capital Expenditures Fund, $10M general upkeep, and then only use the rent figure for your conclusion quoted above. You assume that ballpark office space is Class A office space, which I highly doubt it is. You imply that a 544,881 square-foot stadium is similar to commercial office space. You imply that the taxpayer's paid for this when the funding is coming from the hotel/motel tax and the Mariners home games contribute to tourists staying in hotels.

As much as you don't want to hear it, this was a smart investment. Three ballparks around the US are being torn down and the cities are building new ones. All three of these ballparks were built around 1999 (same as Safeco). You locked the Mariners into 25 year lease and provided necessary funding to ensure the longevity of the stadium (the longer Seattle can go without building a new ballpark the better), and you only used funds from people visiting Seattle.

4

@3, The Economist did a real study about the economic impact about sports stadiums and not a single one has provided any net economic gain for any of the cities they have been build in. Once you take into account the endless tax cuts, deals and other costs the cities need to put up and the actual revenue that comes back in to the city...it's a loss.

It's better to take these stadiums and invest in small businesses that provide living wage jobs for the long term (not seasonal selling hot dog jobs) and provide tax revenues for the cities in question.

Stadiums are nothing more the populist corporate welfare.

5

@4: @3 wasn't saying that this deal was a net economic gain, they were just pointing out that the $135 million is coming out of a tax fund that Seattle homeowners/residents don't pay into. It's just a little bonus that the Mariners themselves seriously contribute to the revenue-generating ability of these taxes (Safeco Field is absolutely one of the best ballparks in the country and, as any Mariners fan knows, whenever the visiting team is good and/or well-known, Safeco (annoyingly) fills up big-time with visiting out-of-town fans. The Blue Jays visit one weekend each summer brings several thousand Canadians down from B.C. alone; and they spend the whole weekend getting wasted in Pioneer Square)

That said, while, the Mariners ownership definitely doesn't need this $135 million and they shouldn't be getting it, in the context of major pro sports stadium deals, this still looks like a big win. At least two other MLB franchises have recently conned their cities into paying for a new stadium to replace stadiums about as old as Safeco. From that perspective, the Mariners are offering to give up their power to force yet another new stadium project on us for the next 25 years. I, for one, love the idea of keeping Safeco and the CLink running as long as possible and therefore maybe someday breaking out of our publicly funded stadiums debacle.

6

@5 Exactly. The stadium is already built and paid for, might as well get a full 50 years out of it. If in 25 years the Mariners need a new stadium, I have no problem letting them walk... they can't hit anyways.