Recap of Forbes Reporting on the Florida Marlins Since 2002

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2002 finances — Operating loss of $14 million and an *estimated franchise valuation of $136 million . [*Jeffrey Loria purchased the team prior to the 2002 season for for $158 million] — as of April 2003:

Shoddy marketing delivered second lowest attendance in baseball. The Florida Marlins play in Pro Player Stadium.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2003 finances — Operating loss of $11 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $172 million — as of April 2004:

Last year’s World Series title brought glory and slightly more revenue to the Florida Marlins. Give management credit. Unlike some other low-revenue owners who pocket the payouts from high-revenue teams, Jeffrey Loria invested in players like Pudge Rodriguez (since departed to the Detroit Tigers). But the long-term viability of this franchise in south Florida remains in question, unless the team can convince legislators and taxpayers to help finance a new ballpark.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2004 finances — Operating income of $3 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $206 million — as of April 2005:

The Marlins are getting very close to getting a new ballpark that could add more than $30 million a year to the team’s top line. In March the Miami-Dade County Commission approved financing for a $420 million stadium in time for the 2008 season. The Marlins have pledged $192 million of the financing, taxpayers would be on the hook for $166 million, and parking revenue would contribute $32 million. But the stadium deal is far from a lock. The Florida legislature, which has voted down new stadium proposals in the past, needs to approve a $30 million sales tax rebate to complete the funding package.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2005 finances — Operating loss of $12 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $226 million — as of April 2006:

The Marlins agonizing search for a new ballpark continues either in southern Florida or a new city (Portland, Las Vegas and San Antonio are the top relocation possibilities). The team offered $200 million towards a $425 million, 38,000 seat retractable dome stadium. But the team won’t pay for land or infrastructure costs. Miami-Dade County officials have balked at this deal. Meanwhile the team had a dramatic fire sale on players after the 2005 season. Team payroll dropped from $75 million to less than $20 for the 2006 season, by far the lowest in baseball. When season ticket holders wanted a refund on paying major league prices for minor league players, they were rebuffed by the team.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2006 finances — Operating income of $43 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $244 million — as of April 2007:

The Florida Marlins, who are second-class tenants in a stadium owned by Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, are getting close to building a new ballpark of their own. The team, city and county have committed to paying $460 million of the $490 million estimated cost to build a retractable-roof stadium. Supporters of the stadium are asking the state to pay an additional $60 million over 30 years to finance the remainder. If owner Jeffrey Loria gets his new digs the value of the team should increase by at least $40 million the first season.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2007 finances — Operating income of $36 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $256 million — as of April 2008.  This estimate proved to be almost exact [click here]:

The Marlins, who have the lowest revenue in baseball, are inching closer to getting final approvals for a new retractable-roof, baseball-only stadium for the 2011 season. The stadium would have 37,000 seats and cost $525 million, of which the Marlins would kick in $155 million. Meanwhile, team owner Jeff Loria continues to debase his franchise by not using the $30 million-plus revenue-sharing check he gets each year from baseball to keep talent. In December Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis were traded to the Tigers for six prospects. The deal cut $20 million from the Marlins 2008 payroll, sending it to the absurdly low $10 million range.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2008 finances — Operating income of $44 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $277 million — as of April 2009:

It is official. Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria got the team for free. Before the 2002 season Loria, who then owned the Montreal Expos, bought the Marlins for $158 million while MLB paid $120 million to take ownership of the Expos. The Marlins price was later reduced to $143 million, as stipulated in the purchase agreement, when the Marlins did not get a new stadium within five years. But during his seven years of owning the Marlins, Loria has received more money from baseball’s revenue redistribution system than the amount he paid for the team. Now that is real money ball.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2009 finances — Operating income of $46 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $317 million — as of April 2010:

The Marlins should move into their new ballpark in Miami in April 2012. Miami-Dade commissioners voted 9-4 to finance a $515 million ballpark and $94 million in parking lots in March 2009. The county will own the 37,000-seat domed ballpark but the Marlins will get revenue from suites and advertising that they currently do not get at Sun Life Stadium, which is owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. The Marlins will contribute $155 million, which includes rent, to the project. The county will pay $297 million in county hotel bed taxes and a $50 million general obligation bond. The city is to donate the land and $13 million in bed taxes and build $94 million in parking lots that the team will repay by selling parking spaces each game. Team owner Jeff Loria will rename the team the Miami Marlins as part of an agreement to get the financing for the new stadium.

Recap of Forbes view on the Marlins based on their 2010 finances — Operating income of $20 million and an estimated franchise valuation of $360 million — as of April 2011:

The Marlins are scheduled to move into their new, $515 million ballpark by the beginning of the 2012 season. The team is contributing only $155 million of the domed ballpark’s financing, with taxpayers funding the rest. Although the county will own the ballpark, the Marlins will get revenue from suites and advertising that they currently do not get at Sun Life Stadium, which is owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Forbes has been showing for years that the Marlins have been among the most profitable teams in baseball, but politicians who voted for the publicly financed stadium said they were surprised to learn that the team was making so much money after the Marlins’ financial documents were leaked. Owner Jeffrey Luria had been lining his pockets with money he has gotten from the league’s revenue-sharing system instead of signing good players. Politicians could have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars with a little more due diligence.

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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