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Panthers lease, financial package passes in Florida

NHL.com @NHL

The Florida Panthers reached a modified operating agreement with Broward County after its commission on Tuesday approved a deal that includes rewriting the lease at BB&T Center.

"We are humbled and appreciative of the support from Broward County," Panthers owner, governor and chairman Vinnie Viola said in a statement. "My partner Doug Cifu and I want to thank the County Commissioners, County Administrator and County staff for their work on this agreement. As we have repeatedly stated, the Florida Panthers are committed to Broward County and South Florida. We will continue to work tirelessly to make the franchise successful on and off the ice and a valued member of the Broward County community."

The Miami Herald said the agreement would use tourist tax money as part of an $86 million package. Broward County owns BB&T Center, the Panthers' home arena located in Sunrise, Fla.

"The National Hockey League is extremely pleased that the Florida Panthers and Broward County have agreed to work together to create an exciting future for the Panthers, their fans and BB&T Center," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "This collaboration provides a terrific opportunity for a surging team and an outstanding venue to energize the sports landscape in South Florida."

The agreement was approved by a 5-3 vote, with one abstention. The lease runs until 2028, with an opt out available in 2023 if certain conditions are met.

"This partnership ensures that the BB&T Center will continue to be a premiere sports and entertainment facility benefiting the Broward County community and all of South Florida," Panthers executive chairman Peter Luukko said. "The agreement shows the county's commitment to arena improvements and to the team. We are excited for what the future holds for both the Panthers and the BB&T Center."

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