Monday, April 03, 2006

San Antonio Marlins May Hinge on TV Deal

The talks of MLB in San Antonio have grown rapidly from a buzz to a roar. Now there are some details about what the deal would like and what long term incentives need to be carved out for the Marlin’s to move to the Alamo City.

No. 1 is the team's need for a TV deal that would generate millions of dollars per season.

"(Stadium) naming rights, suite deals, season-ticket sales, corporate support — without all of that there is no franchise," Marlin’s President David Samson said. "But TV revenue is the engine that keeps the train rolling."

Things are looking good for San Antonio. County Judge Nelson Wolff has been putting together all of the pieces and earned praise and support from legends like Nolan Ryan, but TV is the lynchpin.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who is spearheading local efforts to lure the Marlins, has received 36 nonbinding commitments from area businesses and individuals to rent suites at a cost of $100,000-$200,000 a season. A proposed stadium for the Marlins in Bexar County would include 69 suites.

Bexar County has offered $200 million toward a ballpark, which the team estimates would cost at least $310 million, if voters approve an extension of the tourism taxes paying for the AT&T Center. An election could come as early as November.

The funding for a new stadium seems assured if MLB and the Marlin’s give the green light to a November bond issue, and Samson is clear that the talks of moving the Marlin’s are serious.

"It's overstating it to say talks have stalled (in Florida)," Samson said. "We aren't going back and forth with term sheets, but we are still having global discussions not unlike the talks we are having with Nelson."

Samson called Bexar County's stadium financing plan "an extraordinarily good start to the framework of a deal" but said the Marlins need more specifics and revenue guarantees from Wolff before committing $212 million for a stadium in San Antonio.

"When baseball examines this deal at the end of the day, it is my opinion they would not allow us to move anywhere for the same deal," Samson said. "They would want us to be in a better position."

That's where TV comes into play, Samson said.

The full story can be found here.


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