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Are the Florida Panthers keeping the BB&T Center alive?

Broward County is pondering life without the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers want a break on rent and maintenance payments for the BB&T Center for the remaining 14 years of their contract.

In other words, they are requesting a $78.4 million bailout.

The arena, which is home of the Panthers in the city of Sunrise, is publicly owned, which means property owners are left picking up the tab.

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The county is pondering whether to subsidize a team owned by Vinnie Viola, one of America’s 400 richest people on the Forbes lists.

They also question the attendance figures and whether the Panthers really attract enough tourists to the area. The latter is a concern because this past Monday, the Panthers lost in front of the smallest announced home crowds in franchise history. Only 7,311 fans attended the opening game.

Taxpayers also have to consider if the arena can sustain itself without the Panthers by hosting other activities, like conventions, graduation ceremonies, motor sports and civic events.

Right now, any sort of deal is now on hold as the cats go on a 10-day road trip and will return to the BB&T Center at the end of the month.