The Seattle Mariners have shared $4.6 million in profits with the agency that owns T-Mobile Park, with the funds to go toward improvements in and around the ballpark.
First opening as Safeco Field in 1999, the current T-Mobile Park is owned by the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD). The original ballpark lease between the PFD and Mariners, which expired after last season, including a profit-sharing mechanism that would only kick in after Mariners ownership recovered $200 million in operating losses the organization says it incurred from July 1995 through October 1999.
In this case, the Mariners were able to share $4.6 million in profits as the result of the one-time $50 million payout to each Major League Baseball franchise after MLB Advanced Media’s 2017 sale of the majority stake in BAMTECH Media. More from the Seattle Times:
The $4.6 million the team is paying the stadium’s Public Facilities District (PFD) will go to upkeep and improvements in and around T-Mobile Park as per a profit-sharing mechanism the team negotiated back when the $517 million ballpark first opened in 1999 after being subsidized with $372 million in public funding. That profit-sharing could only be triggered once Mariners owners recovered $200 million in operating losses they say they sustained from July 1, 1995, through Oct. 31, 1999, during the team’s final Kingdome years.
That threshold was surpassed last season when all 30 teams received a $50 million payout for the late 2017 sale of a majority stake in the league’s BAMTECH Media online streaming service.
“MLB was able to negotiate an excellent price for the sale of BAMTECH,” Mariners CEO John Stanton said in a release. “Without the one-time windfall from MLB, the Mariners would not have had a profit for 2018 and there would have been no profit share with the PFD. This is great news for the ballpark, the fans and the neighborhoods that surround T-Mobile Park.”
The profit-sharing arrangement ended last season with the expiration of the team’s former lease. A new 25-year lease agreed to last summer will see the team spend $600 million to improve and maintain the ballpark in a “first class” manner and share a percentage of revenue with the PFD based off ticket sales and T-Mobile Park events that isn’t linked to profits as in the prior deal.
Per a press release from the Mariners, the profit share payment will be divided evenly between the PFD’s Neighborhood Improvement Fund and Capital Expenditures Fund (CapEx Fund). CapEx Fund dollars are to be allocated toward necessary T-Mobile Park improvements, while money in the Neighborhood Improvement Fund is used at the public authority’s discretion for projects in the surrounding area, as well as improvements to the fan experience in and around T-Mobile Park.
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