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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Queens Ballpark Company LLC's to Baa2 from Baa3; outlook stable

17 Jul 2018

New York, July 17, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has upgraded Queens Ballpark Company LLC's (Ballpark) rating to Baa2 from Baa3, affecting approximately $650 million of outstanding rated debt between the PILOT Revenue Bonds, Lease Revenue Bonds and Installment Purchase Bonds. The rating outlook is stable.

Upgrades:

..Issuer: New York City Industrial Development Agcy, NY

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds, Upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3

....Underlying Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds, Upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade to Baa2 from Baa3 recognizes the Ballpark's proven resiliency through periods of variable team and economic performance that will continue to directly affect cash flows over the long debt term. This demonstrated resiliency evidences the value of the partially contracted revenues that provide a cushion against the revenue variability related to the non-contracted revenues that is often dependent upon team performance. Today's rating action acknowledges this degree of resiliency in financial performance that has persisted since the stadium opened nearly a decade ago.

The Baa2 rating reflects Ballpark's average cash flow predictability with just over one-third of its revenues derived from medium to long-term naming rights and sponsorship contracts as well as a core level of demand supporting the non-contracted revenues. This relatively predictable cash flow stream coupled with a stable underlying cost structure and a level debt service amortization schedule has proven relatively resilient to yearly changes in attendance that varies with team performance. The ratings also recognize the inherent strength of the Mets baseball franchise and the Mets non-relocation agreement, which are both fundamental to Ballpark's credit. Together these rating factors enable consistently strong financial performance and related debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) over the term of the debt, despite expected variations in team and economic performance.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook reflects our expectation of continued strong financial resiliency despite variable team performance with DSCRs over 2.0x due to the partially contracted cash flows and predictable cost base, including a flat debt amortization schedule.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

• Stronger than expected financial performance with DSCRs over 3.0x on a sustained basis

• Improved cash flow predictability with an increased proportion of multi-year contracted revenues coupled with successful contract renewals in the near term.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE

• Weaker than expected financial performance with DSCRs below 2.0x on a sustained basis

• Materially weakened liquidity levels

• Player strike that results in materially weaker revenues and the need to draw on the reserve fund

PROFILE

Queens Ballpark Company, LLC ("Ballpark") is a special purpose entity created to lease, operate, maintain and manage the construction of Citi Field, the home stadium of the New York Mets. Queens Ballpark Company, LLC is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Sterling Mets, L.P. The New York City Industrial Development Authority acts as a conduit issuer for the outstanding bonds, owns the facilities, and has a 99-year ground lease with New York City for the land. The NYC IDA subleases Citi Field to Ballpark, who makes it available for the Mets use under the stadium use agreement. Ballpark is obligated to make Payments in Lieu of Taxes ("PILOTS") to the NYC IDA in an amount no greater than what the property taxes would be on the property, and to make certain other rental payments. Ballpark also purchased, on an installment basis, from the NYC IDA certain equipment, fixtures and severable tenant improvements to be used in conjunction with its use of the stadium. The NYC IDA has pledged the PILOTS, installment purchase payments and rental payments to the PILOT bonds, installment purchase revenue bonds and the lease revenue bonds, respectively. Ballpark transfers its semi-annual PILOT payment owed to NYC IDA to the trustee in June and December, prior to the debt service payment dates in July and January.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Generic Project Finance published in April 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

John Medina
VP-Sr Credit Officer/Manager
Project Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

A.J. Sabatelle
Associate Managing Director
Project Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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