More information has surfaced on the finances of the Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League), who are continuing their push for a new ballpark.
Officials at both the local and state levels continue to debate the proposed PawSox ballpark in Pawtucket, which would see the team move into a new facility that would be constructed at the site of an Apex department store. As part of a financial model that has been discussed, the team would contribute $45 million ($12 million upfront, the rest paybacks on money borrowed by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency), Rhode Island would pay $23 million (with Pawtucket committed to paying the money back), and the city would allocate $15 million for the $83-million project.
According to information provided to the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee, the team’s balance sheet from December 31, 2016 showed $11.2 million in net equity. Overall, the balance sheet outlines $7 million in liabilities and $18.2 million in assets.
For their part, the PawSox’s owners are emphasizing that the team’s current financial situation is not sustainable at McCoy Stadium–the team’s current home–while Rhode Island officials are calling for additional follow-up. More from WPRI.com:
“We are a small, stable, but declining business,” PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino and Vice Chairman Mike Tamburro wrote in a letter to the committee. “Nonetheless, in our opinion, the business is unsustainable over time if we continue operating at McCoy Stadium and declining trends continue.”
Lucchino and Tamburro said the owners’ equity in the team decreased by $2 million during 2016, and also noted that the owners’ proposed contribution of $12 million cash to the $83-million new ballpark in Pawtucket is more than the value of their current net equity. They also said a new investor who recently bought a stake in the PawSox – presumably Paul Salem of Providence Equity Partners, who made an investment earlier this year – increased the team’s cash position to about $2 million.
The materials released Wednesday did not provide dollar amounts for the team’s annual revenue and expenses, which would show the owners’ annual profits, if any. A Senate spokesman said that information has not been given to the committee.
“The information provided today appears to address some of the questions committee members have been asking,” Senate Finance Chairman William Conley, D-East Providence, said in a statement. “However, additional follow-up will be necessary. We look forward to continued cooperation by the team to enable the committee’s full and transparent vetting of the proposal.”
Earlier this week, the Pawtucket City Council voted 6-2 in favor of a non-binding resolution of support for Pawtucket to issue bonds of up to $15 million for the project. However, Rhode Island officials are expected to continue discussing the ballpark proposal over the coming weeks.
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