Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mets Red Ink

The NY Post is reporting that the Mets are not doing so well financially-and that its cable network is keeping it afloat while attendance at the ballpark keeps shrinking:

"The Mets are expected to cut their 2012 season loss by two-thirds from last year, to roughly $23 million — in line with expectations but not enough to support anything but a modest uptick in payroll in 2013, The Post has learned. The loss could continue to shrink next year, according to one source close to the situation, who estimated the red ink may drop to about $15 million...

But even with the losses at that level, cash-strapped owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz appear to have just over $21 million in free cash — from their profitable SportsNet New York cable operation — to sink into the club, the source said

All of which underscores our point that for the Wilpons the real estate earnings are more important than anything else-and their conspiring with Claire Shulman and the FWPCLDC is all part of a desperate scheme to avoid financial disaster and hit the land grab jackpot. Something that they did when the city bailed them out of their troubles by awarding their partnership with ubber profitable Related to the tune of $200 million in free land to go along with the development rights to a 1 million square foot mall.

The Post story dramatizes the dire financial straits the Wilpons are in: "However, attendance is down 3.6 percent from last year, has dropped every year the team has been at Citi Field and could drop again in 2013...The team last March sold minority stakes for $240 million — which went, in part, to repay $65 million in loans, $110 million to help refinance bank debt and $43.5 million to the city for stadium debt."

Desperate times invite desperate measures and the Wilpons illegal lobbying scheme was borne from the financial troubles they found themselves in-from an unprofitable baseball team to losses suffered through their partnership with Bernie Madoff. The plight of the Wilpons lies at the heart of the illegal scheme that was concocted to transfer Willets Point to Sterling Equities. As always, follow the money.