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Broward County to hire consultant to examine Panthers’ request

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 3: A young fan of the Florida Panthers supports his team during second period action against the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on December 3, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida. The Senators defeated the Panthers 4-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Joel Auerbach

This month or next, Broward County will hire a consultant to examine the Florida Panthers’ controversial request for a package of public funds that’s reportedly worth around $80 million.

From the Sun Sentinel:

Deputy County Administrator Roberto “Rob” Hernandez said the county will be ready in June or early July to hire a financial consultant to review the team’s request.

“For the past several months, we’ve been reviewing their qualifications and experience dealing with renegotiation of agreements with professional sports teams,’' Hernandez said in an email, about the staff review of financial consultants.

An actual vote on the matter wouldn’t take place until at least a few months after the consultant is hired.

The Panthers play in the county-owned BB&T Center. In 2013-14, only the Phoenix Coyotes’ average attendance was lower than Florida’s (14,177).

It’s not clear what would happen if the Panthers’ request is voted down. In April, the club’s CEO, Rory Babich, refused to comment to reporters on the potential for the money-losing team to relocate. But the possibility has been raised in meetings with the county.