Citi Field Debt Lifted Out of Junk as Mets Games Draw More Fansby
Moody’s raises rating on Citi Field bonds to Baa3 from Ba1
Citi Field revenue rallied last year as team made World Series
The New York Mets didn’t win the World Series last year, but Citi Field bondholders got some consolation: an investment-grade rating.
Moody’s Investors Service boosted the rank on $650 million of Citi Field bonds Wednesday one level to Baa3, a step above junk. Citi Field revenue rebounded last year as the Mets made it to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, lifting its reserves available to pay debt. Moody’s expects revenue to remain strong in the “near-term.”
“The rating recognizes the strength of the Mets baseball franchise as one of the most valuable in the league and the Mets non-relocation agreement,” according to a Moody’s news release.
Average attendance at Citi Field last year rose about 20 percent to 31,725, the sixth-best in Major League Baseball, according to Baseball-Reference.com. This year, the Mets have drawn an average of 34,984, fifth-best in the league, according to the website.
The Mets sold $613 million municipal bonds in 2006 backed by payments in lieu of property taxes, lease revenue and installment payments to finance the construction of Citi Field. The team also issued $82.3 million of insured debt in 2009, the year the 42,000-seat ballpark opened in Queens.