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Detroit Taxpayers Won’t Be Handed Tigers’ World Series Party Tab

Detroit Taxpayers Won’t Be Handed Tigers’ World Series Party Tab
Phil Coke of the Detroit Tigers celebrates in the locker room after the Tigers won 8-1 against the New York Yankees during game four to win the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park in Detroit. Photographer: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A potential World Series celebration for the Detroit Tigers won’t cost the city’s taxpayers a penny, a spokesman for the mayor said.

Facing a $265 million annual deficit, Detroit avoided a state takeover in April by adopting a recovery plan that includes a nine-member oversight board and a list of reforms. The board warned Mayor Dave Bing on Oct. 8 that the city could run out of cash in a few months unless he acted more swiftly to rein in spending.

“Historically, the city has paid for celebrations of this type,” Anthony Neely, press secretary for Bing, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said via e-mail. “Due to the financial stress the city finds itself in, we have requested and received the assistance of foundations and corporations to cover the cost.”

Neely wasn’t specific as to how much a World Series celebration would cost or which companies and foundations would assist.

The Tigers will represent Major League Baseball’s American League in the best-of-seven World Series, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 24. The St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants will play a decisive Game 7 of the National League title round tonight in San Francisco, with the winner hosting the first two World Series games. The NL won the All-Star Game, giving its representative home-field advantage in the best-of-seven championship round.

Lakers Paid

Basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers agreed to cover the cost of the team’s championship parade in 2010, when the city faced a $485 million budget shortfall. The year before when the Lakers won, private donors covered half the city’s $1.8 million in costs for police and other services.

The Tigers are owned by Mike Ilitch, who founded the Little Caesar’s Pizza chain and has a net worth of about $2.5 billion. Ilitch also owns hockey’s Detroit Red Wings. He bought the Tigers in 1992 for $82 million, according to Forbes, which says the team is now worth $478 million.

Tigers spokesman Ron Colangelo said in an Oct. 19 e-mail that the team hasn’t discussed plans for a World Series celebration. The team hasn’t won the championship since 1984.

The economic crisis in Detroit, with the area the center of the U.S. automotive industry, is heightened by the flight of one-quarter of its residents since 2000, falling property values and resulting loss of tax revenue.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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