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February 28, 2007

Skybox muscle slips for stadiums

Suites that aren't paying off get boot

Wall St. Journal, via Myrtle Beach Sun
By Russell Adams

On the eve of the release of financial projections for Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan, this article revealed that skybox revenue ain't what it used to be.

It was like watching an era of sports history being erased. In early December, construction workers sawed through the multiple layers of drywall and metal studs separating a row of skyboxes at the Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field. They tore up the suites' beech-hardwood floors and carted away their oriental rugs and leather furniture. By the end of the week, the eight skyboxes were gone.

In a reversal that strikes at a cornerstone of pro-sports finances - and of the way corporate America entertains - teams around the country are ripping out luxury suites. These perches have been used to justify billions of dollars in stadium construction over the past two decades. But in many cities, they are losing luster with surprising speed, partly the result of factors that couldn't have been predicted five or 10 years ago, from changes in tax laws to scandal-driven reforms on corporate entertaining.

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NoLandGrab: In contrast to this article and current nationwide trends, Ratner estimates, in the documents released today by the ESDC, that "suite and loge box revenue" will nearly pay for the arena's construction.

Posted by lumi at February 28, 2007 6:26 PM