Miami Heat want to stay in AAA for 10 more years

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 4:00pm.

The Miami Heat basketball team and Miami-Dade County are currently negotiating a 10-year extension of the deal that lets the team play at AmericanAirlines Arena and receive about $6.5 million a year in hotel taxes to subsidize operations. The current deal the Heat has now doesn't expire until 2029, but the team is pushing for an extension through 2039 now to help launch a major upgrade of the 14-year old arena.

Two months ago, team lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez said a new deal may require as much as $17 million a year in public subsidies to produce the kind of renovations that will keep the arena competitive. 

The Heat exercised its option to begin renewal discussions in 2012, 17 years before the current 1997 agreement expires.

Owner Micky Arison, the billionaire chairman of Carnival Corp., and the Heat bankrolled construction of the $360 million arena in the late 1990s in exchange for the current deal. While the Heat organization pays no rent to the county, its original agreement includes profit-sharing agreements designed to give the county 40 percent of all arena profits above $14 million. Team profits, including television revenue, are not part of the agreement.

In November, the team cut its first profit-sharing check to the county for $257,134.

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