Wahoos to hand CMPA check for $491,602

November 7, 2013

On Friday, Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos, will deliver a check for $491,602 to the Executive Committee of the CMPA. This payment is in addition to the over $200,000 the team has previously contributed to the CMPA this year, which brings the total revenue paid to the City in 2013 to $699,823.

The operating budget for the CMPA is $820,000, plus a capital reserve of $182,000. The Wahoos check tomorrow is covering 60 percent of the CMPA’s operating budget and also half of the entire CMPA budget. Parking fees should contribute this year another $200,000, based on past collections. Wahoos will write another check next summer for a minimum of $175,000. I estimated the cash coming from the park will be around $866,602.

That leaves the CMPA and the city, who operates the park, to come up with another $135,000 in revenue from other events to cover the balance of the capital reserves.

According to a Wahoo’s press release, only the Birmingham Barons pay more in use fees than the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The Barons will pay only an estimated $20,000 more than the Wahoos this year, despite having a brand-new, publicly-funded $39 million stadium that seats 10,000 fans and has 26 revenue-producing suites. In comparison, the home stadium of the Blue Wahoos seats just over 5,000 with no suites, and cost $15 million in public money and $3 million in private donations.

When calculated on a per-seat basis, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos pay more per seat than any other team in the Southern League – over three times the league average and almost twice as much per seat as Birmingham.

“This is the most aggressive use agreement for any City in the Southern League, on a per-seat basis,” said Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer. “The City Administration and CMPA should be commended for bringing this type of agreement to closure just 18 months ago. We are very hopeful that the City and CMPA will be successful with the entire Maritime Park project, from the amphitheater to the private development parcels to special events, and we are doing our part to make this a long-term, ‘win-win’ relationship.”

Studer also noted that the Blue Wahoos, like any business, have a balancing act between expenses like use fees, ticket prices for fans, and quality service from employees.

“Thanks to our fans and sponsors, we have been able to continue to offer family-friendly entertainment, good jobs to our community, and bring thousands of people downtown to shop and eat every game night,” said Studer. “We’ve been recognized as not only a great stadium, but a great, fan-friendly operation, as well as the top community-service ball club in the Southern League. But we have to ensure that we keep our ticket prices low and our attendance high to continue offering this great experience for supporters, ticket holders, non-profit groups and sponsors, as well as providing the CMPA with much-needed revenue.”

The CMPA Executive Committee meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 8 at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall.

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  • Henry November 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Hey, C.C…you and your merry band of nay-sayers lost, the city won, and we have a baseball team that’s helping revitalize downtown. GET OVER IT!!

  • C. C. Elebash November 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    The article does not include significant related information. It does not mention the $2.6 million the City and its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)are paying annually for principal and interest on the maritime park bonds. The major portion of this is attributable to the stadium. In addition, the City is spending about $350,000 annually on park operations and maintenance, much of it for the stadium.

    “Virtually every independent economic study, including one by the Florida Senate in 2005, has shown that publicly funded sports stadiums are a rotten deal for taxpayers.” Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, syndicated column in Pensacola News-Journal, January 12, 2010.

    C. C. Elebash

  • CJ Lewis November 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    The CMPA should take some of that money and hire an Executive Director who actually works for the CMPA, as was the original plan in early 2007. Nothing against Ed Spears but having the CMPA Executive Director serve at the pleasure of Mayor Ashton “Walter Mitty” Hayward has not worked and is never going to work. If Ed won’t take the job, perhaps not wanting to risk being in the private sector, someone else will want it. At some point, and it hasn’t happened to date, the CMPA Board needs to grow a pair and tell Hayward to stay out of their way. Can you imagine Hayward trying to jerk around the Chamber of Commerce the way he manipulates the City Council and the CMPA? The Chamber wouldn’t stand for it.

  • joe November 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Not because of Mr. Studer, I think the City bungled the Stadium deal through its incompetence; however thank goodness Quint is the owner of the local baseball team. Others could have taken advantage of the COP’s incompetence yet Quint is doing his part to make the Ballpark by the way be a little less of drain to the taxpayers.

    Maybe Mr. Model Mayor will wake up and get busy capitalizing on some of the fine assets in downtown Pensacola.