Citi Field Bond Rating Lifted From Junk by S&P on Liquidity GainBy
Sufficient to cover operating, debt service costs for a year
Credit rating increased two levels to BBB from BB+ by S&P
Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, had its credit rating raised from junk by S&P Global Ratings, which cited the improved liquidity of the team subsidiary that controls the 42,000-seat ballpark.
S&P boosted the rank of $695 million of Citi Field bonds two levels to BBB from BB+, following cash funding of its debt service reserve, according to a news release. The stadium had $38 million of available reserves as of June 30, a $3 million increase from March, the rating company said. The funds also consist of a surety from from Assured Guaranty Ltd.
“The current collective bargaining agreement for Major League Baseball expires in December 2016 and negotiations are now underway with no known issues,” S&P said in a news release. “However, we believe that if a prolonged strike were to occur the project would have dedicated liquidity sufficient to cover operating and debt service costs for 12 months.”
S&P is the second rating-company to raise Citi Field’s rating out of junk status. Moody’s Investors Service boosted the rating one level to Baa3 last month citing the franchise’s strength. Last year, the Mets made it to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, and post-season games “significantly boosted” revenue. 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.
The team was forced to cut expenses after the the majority owners of the club, led by Fred Wilpon, lost millions investing with Ponzi scheme swindler Bernie Madoff.