Stadium Authority could lose $2.5 million

August 14, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

Friday's players strike means no game today at Camden Yards. But for the Maryland Stadium Authority, it portends something even more ominous -- lost revenue that could hit $2.5 million.

That's a costly possibility, but a real one if the season isn't resumed, according to stadium authority executive director Bruce Hoffman.

Counting Friday's and yesterday's canceled games, the Orioles had 25 home dates left on their schedule when the players walked away from their lockers two days ago. Each canceled game costs the stadium authority about $100,000 in lost rent and admissions tax, potentially up to $2.5 million, Hoffman said.

Stadium authority officials had been counting on that money to pay their bills, including a pre-strike operating budget this year approaching $6 million.

"We'll be doing everything we can to trim to rock bottom, including maybe even laying off a few people," Hoffman said. "We'll look at all areas of the ballpark -- the club level, the private suites. If they're not being used, we'll crank up the temperature."

Two weeks ago, the Orioles handed over $2.7 million, their rent payment covering use of the stadium from January through June. The second installment is due early next year.

Despite the shortfall caused by the strike, the authority isn't in danger of slipping behind in paying bills, Hoffman said.

The stadium authority will continue to pick up small amounts of revenue from the stadium parking lots and from weddings and other functions held at the park -- a business that has grown to 15 to 20 bookings per month.

That revenue, plus rent from the Orioles, will be enough to cover operating expenses this year, Hoffman predicted. However, the strike probably will wipe out the authority's contribution to a construction fund for a Camden Yards football stadium.

And even though a strike would hurt financially, Hoffman said the authority would try to make good use of the days baseball isn't played.

"We'll take advantage of this to do some maintenance things -- painting, looking at some of the major equipment in the building. We're usually stuck doing that work in October and November," Hoffman said.

Layoffs could come if that work is completed -- probably in a

couple of weeks -- and the games haven't been restarted. The first workers to go, Hoffman said, would be about a half-dozen seasonal employees.

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