How The Funding Of AutoZone Park Will Work

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) The city council voted to purchase AutoZone Park Tuesday.

Eight council members voted in favor of the purchase which will cost $36 million after financing.

Purchase price of the park is $19.5 million plus $4.5 million in improvements and then the financing charges.

City leaders say if the financing plan works, taxpayers should not have to contribute any money to the deal.

The purchase was the result of an 8-4 vote with Janis Fullilove, Lee Harris, Wanda Halbert and Harold Collins voting 'no.'

"We can't fully explain to citizens how we support these initiatives that don't affect the day-to-day services to citizens," said Halbert.

Council member Shea Flinn recused himself because a radio station he runs broadcasts Redbirds games.

The city council meeting opened with public comments.

One supporter said that, speaking as a real estate investor, the ballpark is a major reason businesses invest in the area.

A person who works as an usher at the park said she was "shocked" that people are opposed to the purchase, because not only would she and others lose their jobs, but it would also impact tourism.

Others oppose the city getting involved in another venue and wondered where the money was coming from when there are shortfalls in other areas.

"it's exactly like a deadbeat dad refusing to pay a child support order so he can buy a gift," said Kenneth Whalum.

The Cardinals will pay $300,000 a year in rent and could pay an additional $100,000 if revenues fall short of projections.

AutoZone will pay $100,000 for ten years of naming rights for the park.

Bonds will also be issued and there are rebates expected on sales tax at the park.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said the organization wants to make a profit and grow the team to perform as it should for a city of this size.

We asked Mozeliak if the discussions which went on for weeks made him worry about doing business with the city in the future.

"We were under impression it would go quickly, but this 13 member council has to do their job," said Mozeliak.

Money from the deal will come from bonds, and the Cardinals' lease for the stadium is 17 years.


  • 1midtownmike

    “Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said the organization wants to make a profit and grow the team to perform as it should for a city of this size.”

    Sorry John, but there’s too much tomfoolery and monkey business in this city for you to have a play pen for you and your good time Charlies at tax payers expense. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Brenda Bucks

    AC Wharton is doing a fine job running this city. AC you are doing a great Job with this city! So much prosperity and wise spending. Memphis has never had a better mayor in all it’s years. Afterall it’s only money. Right?

    • Thomas H. Evans

      Brenda, you are a true dreamer if you feel A C Wharton has done a great job for this city. Let’s start with Blight in this city, then move on to crime. Let’s then move on to surrounding himself with a group of people who have no idea how to run a city and yet are all being paid $80,000 to $240,000 a year with little or no results. I can see that you are one who has been taken in by his “Sharp Dressing” and his “Smooth Soft” talking like so many who voted for him. Point to “ONE” thing that makes him a great mayor for this city.

  • Ben Smith

    A lot of hype for a Triple A stadium.While a great venue,is it worth more debt offset by a slow economy and dwindling tax base? The experiment to build and up-sell downtown to young,Memphis professionals hasn’t reaped what it’s visionaries have exhorted over the last 25 years. The city should leave real estate investing and property management to others in those enterprises;on their dime.

  • Ron Shaffer

    Something else that is now forced on us to pay even though some like me don’t support the the team or the basketball team. We will be forced to pay for this with higher taxes.

  • Eddie Heath

    Only peopel that made out on this deal are Pit Hyde, and the family that runs the peabody hotel, taxpayer of this city got it in the a## again, run the entire city counsel out of town.

  • Don

    I feel so sorry that Janis Fullilove won’t be allowed to use the flag pole to dance on because she didn’t vote for the stadium. Now that would be worth going to see. Just kidding….. or was I?

  • Joe

    kind of amazing that a statement like this one is made…..

    “”City leaders say if the financing plan works, taxpayers should not have to contribute any money to the deal.””

    ummmm am I missing something here? you are going to issue bonds to pay for the lions share of this, people

    know what bonds are? borrowed money… be paid back over time…with interest

    essentially the city took out a mortgage to buy the facility…..then they spend millions to spruce it up

    and the cardinals pay only 300 grand a year to use it? REALLY?

    does the city council not understand what bonds are?

    or do they think that the people of Memphis are just that stupid?

  • Don

    How The Funding Of AutoZone Park Will Work.

    All of the above, only one thing that is left out is how much AC gets under the table.

Comments are closed.