Friday, September 14, 2007

Equity Seat Rights

An Chicago entrepreneur wants to fund new baseball stadiums by combining the demand for, say, Florida Marlins tickets with the attractiveness of today's real estate market:

Lou Weisbach has a solution: sell seats to fans on a multiyear or permanent basis, just as if they were real estate. Here's how it works: Fans contract with teams to own their seats for a set period - from five years to ten years to perpetuity - at a fixed price, paying in a lump sum annually. The teams, in turn, get a reliable source of cash flow to pay down debt or fund new stadium projects.

. . . Fans could then pay up to trick out their seats just as they would invest in improving a home, with leather cushioning and seat-side instant-replay screens. Stadium Capital will also help establish secondary markets for fans to sell their seats at market prices. So if the team does well and demand for seats rises, fans can cash in.

If you think the mortgage industry is in trouble now, just wait until companies start extending interest-only ARM loans to Marlins fans who want to install a La-Z-boy on the club level of Loria Stadium.

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