The Stadium Deal Gets Worse, Believe It or Not

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

The Stadium Deal Gets Worse, Believe It or Not


So which is it? Is Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell such an outstanding, overwhelmingly superior negotiator? Or is Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening really that bad? Given the latest fiasco involving the governor's ongoing campaign to allow Mr. Modell unlimited access to the wallets of Maryland residents, the only answer is: Yes, Art is that good - and yes, Parris is that bad.

Late last week Mr. Modell told Maryland legislators and taxpayers how dearly he "would like to chip in" to help them fund his $200 million stadium, which Gov. Glendening has promised to make available to him rent free for 30 years. But unfortunately, Mr. Modell regretfully reported, "There's nothing to chip." This week Mr. Modell suddenly found what appeared to be a $24 million stash of cash, which coincidentally appeared to match the pittance of a contribution state legislators were trying to extract from him. As with everything else concerning Mr. Modell, however, appearances are deceiving. He bamboozled the governor yet again.

When last we left Mr. Modell, he had sucked up the rent free 30-year lease, plus all the revenues generated from 108 luxury suites, concessions, parking and advertising signs throughout the 70,000 seat stadium, plus a cool $75 million from selling personal seat licenses (PSLs), which give purchasers the right to buy season tickets. Yes, the new deal calls for Mr. Modell to pony up $24 million. But that's $2.4 million a year for 10 years starting in 2001. In return for his "concession" -or at least Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman John Moag says it's "on the table" - Mr. Modell gets the right to pocket revenue paid by a private corporation to put its name on the stadium. Typically, companies pay $1 million annually for the right to name a stadium or arena. …

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