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11-17-2012, 10:04 AM
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Interesting article...

Last year, Forbes estimated that the Panthers lost $7 million. Over the last nine seasons, they calculate the Panthers total losses at $68 million, an average deficit of $7.5 million per season.

Interestingly, the picture that Forbes paints is at odds with that presented by Broward County. Broward County was primarily responsible for the construction of the Panthers’ arena, and as a result gets to look at the books of the organization. According to the county auditor, the organization made $117.4 million in profit between 1998 and 2012.

The Panthers play in BB&T Center. The arena was built for $191 million and opened in 1998, it was financed through bonds issued by the County and repaid through a combination of tax and arena revenues. The County then inked a 30-year operating agreement with Panthers Hockey LLLP (now known as Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, or SSE).

As part of the agreement, SSE essentially controls the arena. They host 41 regular season home games (plus playoff games and any special/pre-season games), and between 70-100 other events in a calendar year. The county receives revenue sharing only if the Panthers organization hits a certain profit level, which was previously pegged at $12 million in a year.

The 2010 auditor’s report, which is available at the county website, shows a company that averaged $9.9 million per fiscal year between 1999 and 2008 (discounting the 2004-05 lockout year, for a moment). Those revenues dipped to just a hair over $1 million in 2005, the year of the NHL lockout. Interestingly, 2005 – due to the lockout – is the one year where Forbes doesn’t provide an estimate that shows the Panthers losing money, and it’s the lowest revenue-generating year the auditor records.

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