Broward County votes ‘yes’ to new $86 million deal for Panthers

Associated Press
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The Florida Panthers got some great news on Tuesday evening, as the Broward County Commission voted 5-3 in favor of giving the Panthers a new financial package worth $86 million.

The Panthers will get a nice chunk of change from tourist taxes to off-set the financial losses they’ve suffered (and continue to suffer) and they will have their arena lease rewritten.

What does this mean for the Panthers?

It looks like this new deal will keep them in South Florida for the next little while, but like all transactions of this magnitude, there’s always a “but”.

Although the team’s owners say they are committed to leaving the team where it is, there is a way out (isn’t there always).

The team’s arena lease with the county is still for 13 years, but they can get out of it after eight, once they’ve given the county a year’s notice, paid back $72 million and proved that they’ve lost $100 million in the previous seven years.

Should the Panthers’ ownership group try to relocate or declare bankruptcy before eight years, the financial penalties would be stiff, which is why majority owner Vinnie Viola (pictured) provided a letter of credit in case one of those scenarios occurs.

The deal will, for the moment, put a hold on relocation talk, but it’s important to remember that there still is an expensive way out of South Florida.