From the Sun Sentinel:
The Florida Panthers hockey team’s future in South Florida could be determined Tuesday. The Broward County Commission is expected to vote that day on whether to give the team an $86 million bailout in public funds.
Broward Mayor Marty Kiar said the proposal will be on the Tuesday meeting agenda.
The major financial details of the deal are in the story, so you can click on the link for those.
If there’s a key aspect of the proposed contract, it might be the one that, according to the newspaper, requires the Panthers to provide “an irrevocable letter of credit to protect the county’s financial investment if the team defaults, files bankruptcy or relocates.”
It’ll be interesting to read the small print there, because the big question in all these deals is — If they wanted to, how could they get out of it?
Case in point, in 2009, Jerry Moyes attempted to use bankruptcy to get the Coyotes out of their long-term lease with Glendale. That way, Jim Balsillie could move the team to Canada. At least, that was the plan. It didn’t quite work out that way, but you can bet Broward County was determined to protect itself from a similar situation.
Another key detail? And actually, this might be more key than the previous one. The newspaper reports that the Panthers will have the option to get out of the deal after eight years:
They’d have to give a year’s notice, show losses of $100 million over seven years, and pay a termination amount. For example, if the Panthers leave in year 8, they’d pay back the full $72 million the county would have given them by then. The termination penalty decreases each year thereafter but leaves the county with enough money to pay off the debt.
So while this reported deal may provide the Panthers with some stability over the next few years, it won’t completely stop the relocation buzzards from circling.