Tricky Micky: Arison's Heat Doesn't Pay Rent For County-Owned Arena

Thumbnail image for mickyarisonpig.jpg
A very powerful pig.
Even though they lost last night to the Mavs, the LeBron-ified Miami Heat are finally playing like juggernauts. And the team is profiting like one, too, from ticket and paraphernalia sales. In fact, the Micky Arison-owned wunderkinds expect to make more money this season than ever before.

Do you think that means they might actually pay rent on their shiny, county-owned, waterfront stadium?

Don't count on it.

In the ten-plus seasons the Heat has played in American Airlines Arena, a $213 million-venue sitting on $38 million of county land, the team hasn't shelled out a penny for its use. In fact, the county has paid $64 million in operating subsidies.

Back in 1997, owners of the Heat -- which then played in the eight-year-old, publicly-financed Miami Arena -- threatened to move to Broward County unless they were given the bayside plot of land originally slated to become a public park. The Miami-Dade mayor at the time was Alex Penelas, who had a devastatingly pretty face and the business acumen of a Labrador retriever. After the county and team reached an agreement, Raul Masvidal, the consultant hired to represent Penelas in negotiations with billionaire Carnival Cruise owner Arison, told the New York Times: "We expect the county not only to come out even--we expect it to make money."

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The county has paid the Miami Heat $64 million to play in this arena.
These days, Penelas has been ousted from politics, Masvidal faces felony grand theft charges for misuse of public funds, and taxpayers are a decade into a 30-year contract that may earn them no compensation for prized public land.

The agreement called for Basketball Properties, Ltd., the Miami Heat entity managing the stadium, to give 40 percent of annual arena profits of over $14 million to the county. Those profits come from luxury box and concession sales, concert rentals, and naming rights ($2.1 million annually from American Airlines). Additionally, the county agreed to pay $6.4 million a year to maintain and operate the facility.

Although the arena's revenue nearly doubled from $25.6 million in 2001, after the Heat's first season there, to $45.4 million last year, the team has never declared more than $6 million in arena profit during a season.

Our access to the team was revoked in 1996 when a porcine caricature of Arison, along with the headline "Micky Arison is a Corporate Pig," graced our cover. So we'll just suggest the oinker knows how to finesse the system. For instance, in 2009 and 2010, respectively, Basketball Properties advanced $7.9 and $6.4 million to the Miami Heat -- transactions counted as financial losses on ledgers submitted to the county. In such a manner, it would seem the team can artificially deflate profits. The Heat Group didn't respond to our request for comment.

This season, the Heat expects to make a bank-bursting $59 million in arena revenue. But don't expect a rent check. "It was never a good deal," says former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who opposed the new arena in 1996. "There are certain politicians who just get stars in their eyes and don't really think about what the real cost is going to be."

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Location Info

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American Airlines Arena

601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: General

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10 comments
Denny Wood
Denny Wood

In the June 11, 2012, Mickey Arison is featured in two Miami Herald articles. One makes Arison look like a saint. The other one talks about his wealth. Neither article talks about rent payments to the County, which are ZERO. The article on the sainthood must have been bought and paid for by Arison.

Haywood Jablomey
Haywood Jablomey

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thank you politicians who demonstrate you are always bought.

sode
sode

Socialism or capitalism. Where are the free marketers now? There is nothing like pure capitalism or communism.

Idiots at Miami-Dade County
Idiots at Miami-Dade County

The lobbyists from the Miami Art Museum have delighted in the gullible idiots at Miami-Dade County believing their lies. No collection. No visitors. No endowment. Who cares? MAM is broke and the Miami-Dade idiots are giving them over $100 Mil of the taxpayers money. $500 Mil loss projected.

So many idiots...
So many idiots...

Heat owner Mickey Arison is probably laughing at the idiots at Miami-Dade County who were too stupid to see the loopholes that allow the Heat to evade paying rent. Jeffrey Loria and David Samson counted on the same idiots when the Marlins took $3.5 BILLION from the taxpayers.

Deadbeat tenants
Deadbeat tenants

Miami Rent pays no rent?Sure be nice if Miami-Dade County Administrators could do a deal that didn't end up screwing the taxpayers.

Heat pay no rent
Heat pay no rent

The Miami Heat are owned by Carnival Cruise Line's Micky Arison. The Heat refuse to pay rent. On December 21st, 2010 Carnival announced its net income for the prior quarter was $248 MILLION. $248 Million, yet Micky Arison refuses to pay rent to Miami-Dade County.

Micky Arision can find $120 Million to pay three of his employees but he finds zero for the owners of the waterfront land that houses the AAA Arena.

As usual, Miami-Dade County administrators fail the taxpayers.

Nothing New Here...!
Nothing New Here...!

Hey! This is The Banana Republic, welcome to Miami corruption! The whole crew voted in The Marlins Baseball Stadium, what are the Miami-Dade taxpayers going to get from that? NOTHING...These "political refugees," who "escaped" from Batista's corrupt Cuba, have voted in boondoggle projects that Batista NEVER even dreamed of !! Makes Fidel jealous that he never thought of STEALING from the taxpaying public like our Miami-Dade Mayors and Commissioners...

Crimepaysrt545
Crimepaysrt545

Typical. A privately owned sports team, in this case the Miami Heat, makes a fortune in a arena on taxpayer owned waterfront land and same team refuses a pay a penny to the taxpayers.

Rpwk
Rpwk

no doubt our watchful county commissioners are keeping a close eye on this. (ya,- right.)

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