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Pols support Panthers bailout plan; Co-owner says team is losing $100K daily

Feb 19, 2014, 8:37 PM EDT

Douglas Cifu AP

Remember when the new owners of the Florida Panthers asked Broward County for money because they claimed to be losing $20-$30 million annually? Politicians there reportedly support the plan to help out the franchise.

Brittany Wallman of the Sun Sentinel reports six out of eight Broward County commissioners support a plan to give money to the team to help make sure the team stays in South Florida. The Panthers are asking for an extra $80 million.

Team co-owner Douglas Cifu said the money is needed because they’re bleeding money even worse than what was previously assessed.

“We’re losing $100,000 a day,” said Cifu. “So where I sit, time is of the essence.”

The one good thing going for the Panthers is they have one of the best lease deals in the NHL. Concerts and other events at BB&T Center are making money for the team and the deal runs through 2028.

Working against the Panthers is the amount of debt left to pay on the arena, totaling around $225 million. The team is looking to get a break on  payments against that through money taken from tourist taxes that have produced more money than they expected over the years.

  1. jimw81 - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    sell the team and relocate them to Seattle. better yet, why is there hockey in south flordia?

    • storminator16 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:08 PM

      Why do you continue to breathe air?

      • dueman - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        He continues to breathe air because he’s not stupid obviously. I would have figured that you would have got that straight away just from reading his comment…Why continue to operate this money losing franchise where it is, when it can be relocated somewhere where it will make money instead?

      • chunkala - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        Just another guy thinking that his city deserves a team even if it is bleeding cash and barely has any fan support. So glad that I don’t live in one of these poor fan cities.
        Answer this question – if you had a failing business, you would ask random people to help save it? I’d love to see the response/looks if you did.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        I don’t see how the Panthers are losing that much money. They have had attendances around 14-15,000 per home game since mid December.

        As I have stated 1,354,938 times on here, no matter what team or market you are, when you make the playoffs once since 1999-2000 (or since before the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets even existed), it’s going to be a hard sell. However, the year after they did make the playoffs, they were playing to 97.3% of capacity at BB&T Center (then known as Bank Atlantic Center), and were a last place team….

      • storminator16 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:57 AM

        dueman, because its not yours or his money to worry about. Smarter people are losing more money everyday than you’ll ever make in your lifetime.

        Yes, I’m aware of the irony.

    • pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      They draw well there and the Tampa Bay franchise is very succesful.

      • dueman - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        I’ll agree that Tampa Bay supports itself, but the Panthers fan base is non-existent.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        when you don’t make the playoffs for 12 of the past 13 years, your not going to draw well.

    • blomfeld - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:14 AM


      The bottom line is that NHL hockey has ‘no’ business being in south Florida, no less than a young woman has ‘no’ business being in the ‘company’ of some old ‘perverted’ geezer … it’s wrong, it’s immoral and it needs to be stopped right now ! The gizzards in Florida should stick to their lawn bowling and such, much like the young woman should only ‘associate’ with people of her own age group. Bettman was ‘wrong’ on this one and he should hand over the file of ‘sunbelt’ expansion ‘right now’ to someone with a stronger set of values !

      • endusersolutions2013 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:15 AM

        Blom, we disagree fairly often, and you’re right – this is clueless. A sweetheart least from a city cluelessly pursuing economic development at the expense of the taxpayers, some of whom trusted them is irresponsible.


        And cannot last.

        Folks will disagree, and I think PHX is in the same “non-league”.

        You’re clearly literate. Is it not time for a “Knight of Mirrors”?

      • blomfeld - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:49 AM

        Solutions, allow me to respond to you with song …

    • briancoia - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:20 AM


    • storminator16 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      chunkala, I’m not a Panthers fan. I actually dislike the Panthers. However, what I dislike more are hockey fans. So, its easy for me to point out how all high n’ mighty whiney 99% of you are.

  2. hosewater2 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    All this talk of relocating to Seattle is just an unfortunate joke. I’m glad there’s interest in hockey, but this is a city that ignored the Seahawks until 15 months ago, and can barely keep the Mariners competitive on the field with the current state of fan support. Fine, get the Panthers out of Florida, but they should go to one of the deserving Canadian markets.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      Seahawks home attendance in 2013 was 101.8% of capacity
      101.4% in 2012
      99.1% in 2011
      100% in 2010
      100.6% in 2009
      101.5 in 2008
      101.8 in 2007
      101.5 in 2006

      I’ll just stop there

      • jcmeyer10 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Plus supporting an MLS team with gusto. The Timbers/Sounders rivarly, with tifo’s, is the envy of the MLS.

  3. smarshall3789 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    I use to live in broward county there is no reason for a team to be there it’s stupid honestly the only reason why there is fans in the stands is cause all the people from the north who go down there for the winter buy tickets for when there team is there

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Well being that I’ve been to more than my fair share of games this year, there must be a lot of the same people who come down here and cheer for Detroit, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Washington. The games are about 75-80% Panther fans. I’m guessing the 25% that were Winnipeg fans, just happened to be here around Christmas time and figured to take in a game since they can only hold a little over 15,000 in Winnipeg.

      • smarshall3789 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        Dude it’s a joke they shoddy be there just like the coyotes shouldn’t be in Glendale AZ why don’t we move teams who lose money to other cities instead of expansion and I’m from Detroit came back here cause you south floridians are crazy panthers make no money all they do is lose money no one I met in my 3 years there was from there so they sell tickets for people to cheer for other teams kinda sad man

  4. hockeyflow33 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    When is enough, enough? There is no other business that works this way. Just move the team already.

  5. s2mikey - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    Nothing better for a taxpayer than having to ante up millions of dollars to rich people already worth millions of dollars so they have their toy sports franchise stay afloat. Fantastic.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      The best part is, they don’t change how they do things so expect the hand to be back out in a couple years!

  6. dolphanindallas - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Amazing ! First off Vinney Viola pulls the strings with the Panthers. The guy is a billionaire and if I’m not mistaken told Dale Tallon that the pocket book will be open once the bulk of the contracts expire this year. Obviously the man and ownership loves hockey and the Panthers enough that he wants a winner, and so does south Florida. We love winners! Dolphins, Heat, Marlins. If they are not winning fans, don’t show up. I’ve seen it year after year living down there. If south Florida has a winner fans so up. Now, Viola and Cifu are not fu@&ing stupid, they are business men. They make so much god damn money with SSE Entertainment that the Panthers are a nice write off of the books. If I were them I would ask Broward County for free money also, if I’m the new kid in town, not only to put feelers out there about my teams status in the community, but to see if they can get Free Money! Holy Crap ! What a crazy idea! All you Canadians need to stop thinking that cherry picking NHL franchises from established cities is best for the NHL. Be grateful you have major junior hockey in your country , and give the Southern United States the sports they deserve. Except Atlanta, Atlanta sucks

  7. earpaniac - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    That’s just it. It’s not “free money”. It comes from somewhere. I’m sure a community has MUCH better things to spend $80 million on than a hockey team. And I’m not saying this because their in FL. I wouldn’t like it if it was the Hawks either.

  8. dolphanindallas - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    I’m not starting a debate here, and I’m all in favor for the Tax paying citizen of Broward County because the schools could use the money more so than The Panthers. But lets not forget how Jeff Loria swindled the tax payers of Miami-Dade out of a Half Billion Dollars for a new stadium at the old Orange Bowl site, and how the Dolphins cashed there own checks to get a vote to the tax payers so that Steve Ross could use the money to update Joe Robbie Statdium.

    Yeah I get it ” Somebody Pays For It” it doesn’t hurt ever to ask especially whens it’s only 80 million dollars. These guys have the power to ask, influence, and get what they want for virtually nothing after the facts.

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