Last Wednesday’s endorsement of the Yanks and Mets stadium deals by the board of the Empire State Development Corporation wasn’t really news: As a wholly owned subsidiary of Governor Pataki’s office, the ESDC is a lock to back anything coming out of Albany. Nor was it exactly a shocker when the ESDC’s press statement contained figures claiming that the stadiums would be big-time revenue-producers for the city—though it was mildly surprising that the state’s numbers didn’t match the ones that the city provided, even though they were done by the same consulting firm.
No, the big news was a figure hidden deep within the crevices of the ESDC press release: While the Yankees’ proposed stadium would be the most expensive in U.S. history at $1.2 billion ($800 million for the stadium itself, the rest for land and infrastructure), the Mets’ dream home would cost just half that, with the ball park’s construction cost running a comparatively frugal $444.4 million. But while Mets Owner Fred Wilpon would be on the hook for less money than George Steinbrenner, he’d still get the same bundle of perks:
Wilpon’s cash-back reward total: $339.9 million, leaving a far more manageable nut of $104.5 million. That should be little enough to be paid off by naming-rights fees and a half-dozen luxury suites, leaving all other new stadium revenues as pure Mets profit. Even using the ESDC’s own economic projections, meanwhile, taxpayers would be left at least $178 million in the red. Too bad Wilpon can’t shake down opposing owners this well, or Manny Ramirez would be batting cleanup on Opening Day.