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Cardinals finalize financing for new ballpark


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12/23/2003 1:32 PM ET

Cardinals finalize financing for new ballpark

Fans invited to participate in groundbreaking ceremony

 

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have the necessary funding in place to build a new ballpark in downtown St. Louis. Work on the site will begin in earnest today. The new ballpark will open in April 2006.

Unlike most other publicly financed and publicly owned professional sports facilities developed in the U.S. during the past 20 years, the new home of the Cardinals will be owned by the team and privately financed using a combination of private bonds -- which the Cardinals are required to repay, bank loans, cash from Cardinal owners and a long-term loan from St. Louis County. Banc of America Securities acted as financial advisor to the Cardinals and placed the private bonds. Ambac Assurance Corporation provided an AAA/Aaa financial guaranty policy for the private bonds.

 

"When we purchased the Cardinals prior to the 1996 season we made a commitment to baseball's best fans that we would do what was necessary to enhance the proud tradition of success this great franchise has enjoyed for over 100 years," said William O. Dewitt, Jr., St. Louis Cardinals Chairman and General Partner.

 

"Today's announcement underscores our commitment to ensure the Cardinals remain a stable, winning franchise for years to come."

 

"For the Cardinals to be able to privately finance the new ballpark is a real tribute to Cardinal fans and testament to the strength of St. Louis as a Major League Baseball market," added Mark Lamping, St. Louis Cardinals President.

 

"This private financing structure would not have been possible without the support of the St. Louis business community via the 10-year purchase commitments of most of the new ballpark's 63 suites. In addition, two of the Cardinals longstanding partners, Sportservice Corporation (concessionaire) and Fox Sports Net Midwest (cable television rightsholder) committed to long-term contract extensions which were essential to the financing structure. The entire Cardinals organization extends our thanks to these great partners."

 

"We are proud to be able to contribute to such an important and ambitious project," said Jeremy Jacobs Jr., Executive Vice President of Delaware North Companies, the parent company of Sportservice. "In nearly 100 years of operation, our partnerships with our teams, and the opportunities we have found to demonstrate our loyalty to them and the fans have been most rewarding."

 

"The St. Louis Cardinals are clearly one of the most cherished franchises in professional sports. We are extremely proud to be associated with the Cardinals organization and furthermore play an integral role in the building of this new ballpark," said Jack Donovan, Fox Sports Net Vice President and General Manager.

 

The Cardinals also announced that the first opportunity to select seat locations in the new ballpark will be offered to current Busch Stadium Season Ticket Holders and the creation of a Ballpark Founders Program. The Ballpark Founders Program will cover approximately 10,300 of the best seats in the new 46,000-plus capacity ballpark.

 

Fans who choose to become Ballpark Founders will receive a variety of rights and benefits including the ability to transfer, will or sell their Season Ticket purchase rights for as long as it remains the home of the Cardinals. It also offers them protection on annual ticket price increases through the 2010 season. The Ballpark Founders Program will require refundable seat deposit payments to the team over a four-year period (2004-2007).

 

Details of the Ballpark Founders Program and the new ballpark seating relocation process will be explained in a mailing from the Cardinals to current Busch Stadium Season Ticket Holders in early January.

 

The Cardinals have scheduled the Ceremonial Groundbreaking for Saturday, January 17th during the team's annual Winter Warm-up celebration.

 

"We wanted to include as many fans and current and former Cardinal players as possible in this historic event," stated Lamping. "It was a natural to build the Ballpark Construction Groundbreaking Ceremony into the Winter Warm-Up. We are particularly pleased to announce that interested fans will be allowed to line-up and actually participate in the groundbreaking."

 

"Today represents the successful completion of the first phase of a project which we believe will result in a major revitalization of downtown St. Louis," added DeWitt. "We sincerely appreciate the assistance of the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the State of Missouri who helped make this project possible."

 

 

CARDINALS BALLPARK FINANCING

 

SOURCE OF FUNDS ($MM) USE OF FUNDS ($MM)

Private Bonds* $200.5 Construction Fund $324.0

Cardinals $90.1 Reserve Accounts and Transaction Costs $20.8

County Loan $45.0

Construction Fund Interest $9.2

Ballpark Total $344.8 Ballpark Total $344.8

 

State Tax Credits $30.4 Site Improvements $30.4

MoDot $12.3 I-64 Ramp Project $12.3

Site/Infrastructure $42.7 Site/Infrastructure $42.7

============================================================

TOTAL $387.5 TOTAL $387.5

* The Cardinals are required to make annual principle and interest payments over a 22-year period, averaging approximately $15.9 MM per year, to retire the bonds.

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