The Miami Heat's lease on the American Airlines Arena doesn't expire for another 18 years, but the team has informed Miami-Dade County that they'd already like to tack an additional 10 years onto the agreement. Of course, under that current agreement the team hasn't paid a single dime to the country in the 12 years they've played there, so why wouldn't they want to renew?
At least they're not asking us to build them a new arena already.
Though the Heat paid for the construction of the arena on county owned land along Biscayne Boulevard, the agreement doesn't require the team to pay a dime to the county in rent unless the arena makes more than $14 million a year. Profits from the arena include things like ticket sales and construction. Other Heat related financial matters are handled through a separate entity.
After the team makes $14 million, the county is entitled to 40 percent of anything more than that. Not once in the team's 12-year history in the arena have they ever apparently made more than that threshold. Last year the arena did make $12.5 million during the last lockout shortened season. Though, the team does seem to have some creative ways in which it decides exactly how much the arena is making.
Through subsidies and tax breaks, the county has spent more than $84 million on the arena since it opened and hasn't collected a dime.
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According to the Miami Herald, the team has sent a letter to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez informing him that the team would like to start negotiations on two 5-year lease extensions that would keep the team in the AAA until 2040.
Of course, with the county still reeling from the Marlins Stadium debacle, and the Miami Dolphins widely expected to start a push for the county to pay for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, it may not be the best time for the Heat to remind the county of their own peculiar financial relationship with taxpayers.