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Phillies & Eagles owe big chunk to Philly


Aug 19, 2002
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Tuesday, February 11

Report: Franchises in hock to city for skyboxes

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia's professional football and baseball teams haven't paid back millions of dollars they owe the city for building luxury suites at Veterans Stadium, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

Under a 1985 deal, Philadelphia paid $8 million for skyboxes at the stadium -- a move that was supposed to benefit the teams by giving them quick cash to increase their payrolls and benefit the city by providing millions of dollars in revenue.

The city has not been repaid any of that money, the newspaper reported.

The NFL's Eagles were supposed to start paying back their share -- at least $4 million a year -- starting in 2001, and Major League Baseball's Phillies were expected to pay about $500,000 more.

The Eagles acknowledge the contract with the city but have not paid.

The Phillies declined to comment, team spokesman Admin Shenk said. Mayor John F. Street's office also declined to comment.

"There are a number of unresolved issues between the team and the city," Eagles president Joe Banner said. "Some of which are things they owe us for, some we owe them for. We are in discussion to see who owes what."

The city, which owns the stadium, agreed under the contract to pay $8 million toward construction of the boxes, allowing the teams the full financial benefit for 16 years. Starting in 2001, the city was then supposed to receive 70 percent of the rent paid to the Eagles by corporate high-rollers through 2011 and 40 percent of that revenue from the Phillies.

With an annual budget of more than $3 billion, the money at stake is a relatively small amount -- but the city is facing some tough financial times, evidenced by Street's recent announcement that he planned to cut about 500 city jobs over the next 18 months to make ends meet.

In addition, the city is finding that new revenue is not coming in as fast as projected for the two new stadiums in the works for the Eagles and Phillies, and the city will have to dig deeper to pay its $394 million share of the $1 billion cost of the stadiums than first expected.

The 1985 agreement promised multimillion-dollar payments through 2011. But that agreement will soon be history, as will the Vet. Football will no longer be played there, and the upcoming baseball season will be the last at the stadium.

But the agreement applies to the 2001 and 2002 Eagles seasons and continues through 2003 for the Phillies.

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