News & Features » News

Reach for the sky!

comment

The richer-than-you-and-me DeVos family wants somebody to build for them another downtown arena. They need it so they can make more money -- in part, by renting out more skyboxes to unnamed but presumably numerous high rollers and corporate chieftains already angling for a perch high above the riffraff in the stands below. To that end, RDV Sports execs recently began calling on elected officials, pitching their hard-luck tale while presumably angling for tourist-tax dollars to underwrite their dream.

What they don't say is that the Magic can't even fill the skyboxes at the current arena -- and there's nobody waiting in line for the next opening.

Indeed, a glance at the list of skybox occupants for the current Magic season, shown here, is pretty unimpressive: If this group represents Central Florida's big-bucks league, you have to wonder just who the Magic front office thinks they'll be able to pinch for more pennies.

One could argue that the skybox situation reflects declining interest in what other media (most of whose owners have a skybox, and therefore a vested interest) keep calling Orlando's only major pro sports team. But the tougher reality is this: Orlando just isn't a base for business. The corporations for whom a skybox is an essential perk -- a place to schmooze clients, maybe even glad-hand the employee of the month -- make their homes elsewhere. Consider the region's largest employer: Disney's dollars are all over Southern California -- in a hockey team, in a sports arena, in the Disney Concert Hall. Here, Disney just takes, takes, TAKES! And what nerve -- they don't even have an arena skybox!

Those who do (and those media names aren't broadcast booths, but rather suites for the suits) paid $100,000 to settle in for the current season. Apart from the names everyone recognizes, they include Bob Poe, the Florida Democratic Party chairman who made his money in PR and radio and used to sell skyboxes; Jimmy Hewitt, a banker, real-estate investor and original partner in the Magic; Noble House of Boston, an Orlando-based PR firm specializing in publicly traded corporations; and Professional Financial Strategies, an insurance and financial planning company based in Kissimmee. If RDV Sports thinks they can milk these and others for more money -- and the price next year jumps to $105,000 -- good luck. We don't buy it.

Who's who inside the skybox:

1. Bank of America
2. Bob Poe
3. Noble House of Boston
4. Wayne Densch Anheuser-Busch
5. WFTV-9
6. Cox Radio
7. Orange Co.
8. T.G. Lee
9. FedEx
10. WKCF 18
11. For rent
12. UPN 65
13. AT&T
14. Prudential Financial Securities
15. Van Kampen Family
16. Tupperware
17. Marriott
18. DeVos Family
19. J. Hewitt
20. City of Orlando
21. Sentinel Communications
22. Sunshine Network
23. Florida Auto Auction
24. Arena Entertainment
25. Orlando Magic
26. TD Waterhouse


Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.