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Smith's Research & Gradings

Yankee Stadium Bonds Baa1/NR/BBB+

Yankee Stadium Bonds Baa1/NR/BBB+

Fitch Ratings assigned a 'BBB+' rating to the New York City Industrial Development Agency's (NYC IDA) $923 million PILOT Revenue Refunding Bonds,Series 2020, Yankee Stadium Project. Fitch has also affirmed the 'BBB+' rating on the Series 2006 and 2009 bonds, as well as the NYCIDA's Series 2006 and 2009 Rental Revenue Bonds, issued on behalf of Yankee Stadium LLC (StadCo). The Rating Outlook is Stable.

The transaction will refund $863 million Series 2006 and 2009 bonds, generating more than $200 million in present value savings.

S&P withdrew its 'BBB' rating on the Yankee Stadium bonds at the request of the issuer. Last March,S&P Global Ratings placed Queens Ballpark Co. LLC (Citi Field) and Yankee Stadium LLC — the respective homes of the New York Mets and Yankees — and Louisville Arena Authority LLC on credit watch with negative implications.
"Stadiums and arenas are already facing canceled events and suspended sports seasons due to the coronavirus outbreak," S&P said. "As a result, cash flows in the related project financings are under pressure."

The bonds are secured solely PILOTs (Payment-in-lieu-of-taxes), paid by StadCo. to the NYC IDA. StadCo receives ticket sales and suite license proceeds and pays PILOT and rental payments out of these monies.

Moody's Investors Service, assigned a Baa1 rating to the $807 Tax-Exempt Series 2020A and the $116 million Taxable Series 2020B bonds. Concurrently, Moody's affirmed the Baa1 rating on all outstanding parity rated debt and revised the rating outlook for Yankee Stadium LLC to stable from negative.

Moody's said, "Today's rating action reflects the benefits of the planned debt issuance that will provide additional resiliency to address potential short term and longer-term uncertainties owing in part to COVID-related events. The rating action also acknowledges the change in the operating environment over the last three months enabling the majority of the shortened 2020 season to be played with limited interruptions to date following the interim agreement reached between MLB and the MLB Players Association."

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