The title of Patrick Fox’s article in today’s AJC exactly describes what happened.
The deadline has passed for Gwinnett County to garner the lion’s share of money from the sale of naming rights for the Gwinnett Braves Stadium in Lawrenceville.
The county had until midnight Monday to secure a deal, which would have given it all the proceeds above the first $350,000. Terms of the contract now call for the Atlanta Braves to receive the first $350,000, the county to receive the second $350,000, and for both to split anything above that level.
It also calls for the Braves to take over shopping the stadium to a corporate sponsor.
This essentially kills the County’s pie-in-the-sky expectation of garnering $500K per year—about 20% of the annual debt service on the stadium bonds—from naming rights. I predicted this would happen almost as soon as the deal was announced; yet, the County blames the economy instead of its obviously unrealistic projections.
“I believe the Convention and Visitors Bureau did everything they could to market it,” said County Administrator Jock Connell. “It’s just unfortunate that we find ourselves in the midst of one of the worst economies that anyone can remember — not an environment conducive to naming rights deals.”
I guess it’s a good time to remind readers that Jock Connell said that the stadium would pay for itself from day one. The economy certainly isn’t helping, but the initial revenue expectations were outrageous for a booming economy.
But don’t worry, the County still has the ability to pay for the stadium with…taxes.
“The good news is that, based on the current performance, our rental car tax has been outperforming what we forecasted, and so we have made all our debt service payments … without the naming rights revenue.”
So, it’s “good news” that Gwinnett residents with car trouble are paying more than anticipated for the stadium?
My proposed name for the stadium: Nasuti’s Folly.