Miami-Dade county taxpayers must be wishing Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had stuck with his original game plan.
For years Loria ran a low-budget baseball franchises and made a fortune by successfully maneuvering through Major League Baseball’s financial system. Loria’s strategy: rely on welfare from richer baseball teams and every now and then spend enough to have a contender (the Marlins defeated the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series) so fans stay at least somewhat interested. During the five years through the 2011 season the Marlins posted a staggering $153 million in aggregate operating income.
But then Loria decided to switch to a different form of welfare: taxpayers. Last year the Marlines opened $639 million, publicly-financed ballpark and parking complex. Usually teams thrive when they first move into a new stadium because of higher attendance, splashy amenities and luxury seating boost revenue. But the Marlins stadium has been a disaster and Mami-Dade county taxpayers are getting hosed like nobody before them.