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Panthers ask for county money as they lose $20-30 million annually

Jan 10, 2014, 9:56 AM EST

This Oct. 10, 2013 photo shows Florida Panthers president Michael Yormark posing next to the new Panasonic HD scoreboard at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The scoreboard was purchased with a $4.2 million grant from Broward County and will be used when the Panthers play the Pittsburgh Penguins at the BB&T Center on Friday. (Photo by Omar Vega/Invision/AP) AP

The Florida Panthers entered the season with a new owner in Vincent Viola, but they haven’t left their financial troubles behind.

The team’s attendance has been lackluster and Panthers president Michael Yormark has stated that the team’s lost $20 million to $30 million annually. With that in mind, the Panthers feel it’s important to change their contract with Broward county in several significant ways, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Among other things, they want the $4.5 million they’re paying annually for the BB&T Center construction debt to be picked up by the county on top of the $8 million per year Broward is already contributing.

Yormark argued that the tourism tax the county originally created to cover its portion of the bill is bringing in more than expected, so that’s where he feels the money would come from. Meanwhile County Administrator Bertha Henry warned this could have “very significant implications” while County Auditor Evan Lukic still isn’t sold on the idea that this would help Broward.

Another major item on the Panthers’ agenda would be to swap the rights for some of the land surrounding the BB&T Center as part of a maneuver to build a casino-hotel, provided that the state passes new laws permitting it over the spring.

It’s also worth noting that the Panthers are prepared to make a commitment to maintain a payroll that would be competitive with the rest of the league. Presently, the team has the most cap space in the league, according to Cap Geek.

Meanwhile, Florida earned a 2-1 victory over Buffalo on Thursday in a battle between two of the league’s worst teams.

Related: How the Panthers make money despite, er, losing money

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