Home Run! A Case Study of Financing the New Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals


CYNTHIA A. BAKERis a partner at Chapman and Cutler LLP in Chicago, IL.

J. PAUL FORRESTERis a partner at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP in Chicago, IL.

On the morning of December 23, 2003, the City of St. Louis, Missouri awoke to a banner on the highway ramp closest to Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis trumpeting “This Ramp is Coming Down,” a line of bulldozers on the lot next to Busch Stadium, and a St. Louis Post-Dispatch front-page headline reading “Cards Are Set To Announce Stadium Financing Deal Today.” When the St. Louis Cardinals (Cardinals) closed on the financing and broke ground for their new stadium adjacent to the current Busch Stadium, it was the culmination of many years of considerable effort by the Cardinals. Earlier plans for a publicly funded stadium encountered the same public opposition found in other cities. With a stagnant economy, and state and city budgets stretched thin, new sports facilities are not a budget priority. Only two other Major League Baseball teams have privately financed ballparks. Against this background, the Cardinals retained Banc of America Securities' Sports Finance Advisory Team in the Spring of 2003 to act as advisor and placement agent. Banc of America Securities and the Cardinals developed an innovative hybrid securitization/project finance/ leveraged ...

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