What's Your Language?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Report: Don't Expect Mets to be Big Time Spenders anytime soon..

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon recently told ESPN that he and his partner, Saul Katz, no longer have any personal debt. But don’t expect the New York Mets to begin spending like a big-market team any time soon.

According to a report by Forbes magazine's Mike Ozanian, the baseball team and the regional sports network of which it owns 65%, SportsNet New York, have over $1 billion in debt combined, according to sources.

The Mets have about $430 million of debt while SNY has near $750 million of debt. Of that $750 million, the owners of the Mets are on the hook for some $450 million, putting their total obligations near $900 million.

With the combined enterprise values of the Mets and SNY around $2 billion, leverage is above 50%. Moreover, the team pays $50 million a year in annual ballpark PILOT bond and rent payments that come from Citi Field’s revenue. Attendance at Citi Field is down significantly the past three years.

Standard & Poor’s stated in a December report in which it downgraded Citi Field’s bonds one notch, to two levels below investment grade, “The negative outlook reflects our expectation that the project cash flow will have slight cash flow declines in the near future before it begins to stabilize.”

Ozanian says despite signing David Wright in the off-season to a $138 million extension, the team’s payroll will likely remain in the middle of the league the next few seasons and GM Sandy Alderson will have his work cut out..

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