ONLY ON 3 & THE BIG TALKER FM: Mayor Saffo won’t support baseball proposal

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Submitted: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 3:45am
Updated: Mon, 11/25/2013 - 2:01am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY & THE BIG TALKER FM) — In an exclusive interview this morning on The Big Talker FM with Chad Adams, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says he and other city council members cannot support the baseball stadium proposal pitched to them two weeks ago.

“Based on the proposal that I have seen to date, I’m not satisfied with it, as I believe all of the other council members are also,” Saffo said. “I don’t think that we’re satisfied with the proposal that’s been brought forward, so we’ll take a look at it and evaluate it and make some decision on it.”

Private developers, Mandalay Entertainment and the Atlanta Braves pitched the proposal to privately finance a nearly $40 million baseball stadium. The group would initially build the stadium and then eventually lease it back to the city.

“Pardon the pun here,” Saffo said, “but we’re putting all of our skin in the game, and they have very little skin in the game.”

Coming up on WWAY NewsChannel 3 at 5:30, we’ll talk with the StarNews’s Shannan Bowen about a recent survey the paper did on public support of a new baseball stadium.


  • Guestifer says:

    Saffo switched his tune faster than it took obama to flip flop on gay marriage. It make one wonder perhaps that Mandalay forgot to send that “Saffo for Senate” donation check…

  • 1981duke says:

    Mayor said.

    “I will not support a proposal seen….to date?.
    City Votes June 19th,today is May 25th.
    In 3 weeks,the deal will most likely sweeten,not sour?

    What was said earlier this week is totally irrelevant.

  • 1981duke says:

    No bribes as you alledge,a solid business proposal

  • 1981duke says:

    Oh, the MAYOR knows oh,so well and now it is about educating the masses about the AMAZING economic impact this will bring the community.
    Are the “masses” listening or just “frugal”?
    If not now,when?

  • Guest1111111 says:

    Mayor Saffo is working to get the best deal for the city and I applaud him for that. After listening to this entire interview, it’s clear that he also understands the tremendous economic impact this stadium will bring to Wilmington.

    In his words: “If this deal is structured properly, this could be a tremendous economic driver for the community. We’re evaluating an economic development proposal with a lot of promise to it. More than anything it’s a quality of life issue because I believe a lot of people would go to the facility. ”

    Economic development, family entertainment and a point of great civic pride. That’s what this stadium will bring and I was glad to hear the Mayor understands that.

  • Pat Searls says:

    You are so deluded. Since he was elected he has shown very little interest in looking out for the taxpayers in this area. If he cared, he would first and foremost concern himself with the overdue need for repairs to our infrastructure, instead of continuing to overload same and to spend more of our tax dollars than are taken in. His arrogance closely matches that of Obama.

  • guesty says:

    You comment proves what I’ve suspect all along, you have been skipping on your medication.
    $affo putting the taxpayers interests first? That is a good one. The only one he is looking out for is himself.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    He’s in the Real Estate business. With his connections, he could easily, but not morally, profiet, from this kind of venture. He also knows a bad deal, when he sees one.

    By standing up, and saying “no”. This proves, what I’ve known all along. He is a honest mayor. And has always put the taxpayers intreasts first. He will continue to have my vote. We are lucky to have him.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    when there are no taxpayer funds involved in the project.

  • 1981duke says:

    640 Jobs Year 1.
    130-140 jobs Year 2 onwards.
    -of that mix,35 full time,100 seasonal.

    Average pay per employee 27k to 31k per year.for full time workers.

  • 1981duke says:

    640 jobs year 1
    135-140 jobs year 2 onwards,your figures way-off

  • SurfCityTom says:

    very few jobs.

    The players, coaches, and managers are all employees of the Major League team. No change there.

    Normal staff for front office is around 12; and that is seasonal to a degree.

    Ticket booth employees, concessionaires, and grounds keepers are all minimu wage; and with only 65 or so home games; not much there.

  • GuestBJones says:

    Let’s not forget all the businesses that will spring up around the stadium. They will be mostly bars and restaurants. Let’s see…waiters and bartenders make below minium wage and depend on tips and everyone else will make close to minimum wage.
    When the city is “given” the stadium in 30 years it can decide whether to spend millions to refurbish it or millions to demolish it.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    They actually had a PowerPoint presentation predicting 645 jobs!

    (We will obviously be the first stadium with 500 peanut, hot-dog, and beer vendors.)

  • Guest292929 says:

    The 645 jobs are the first year. All the construction jobs etc.

  • Guestifer says:

    And least no one forget… who is going to be the main recipient of the very lucrative beer and concession profits? Most certainly this field of their dreams will not be selling 2 for $2.00 gas station hot dogs and $2.29 40 once buds…

  • SurfCityTom says:

    where your point takes you.

    Those restaurants and bars will not spring up overnight. It could well take 3 to 5 years for all of this springing up to occur.

    Winston Salem and Greensboro have neat facilities, named for BB&T & New Bridge Bank; and if you’ve been to either, you know there has been no springing up. And I believe each has been in place more than 5 years.

    By then, the uniqueness of the ball team will have worn off; average paid attendance will be under 2,000 per game.

    And think about this. Neither has nearby beaches to compete with for fan attendance and dollars.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    let’s not forget the street entertainers who will be playing guitars or harmonicas as they approach stadium patrons for hand outs. Let’s see, do I throw them a dollar or have their smelly bodies follow me to my car?

    let’s not forget the springing up of restaurants and bars, where minimum wage employees will stand around while baseball fans are in the stadium; and when they exit, they will either have no cash to spend or will need to get home for work the following morning. I wonder how long those business owners will stay in operation when the fan flow of dollars does not occur?

    I guess we should count cab drivers who will be out there to drive folks home who would prefer to avoid a DUI.

    Oh, and of course the additional police who will be on duty for traffic control and to control youthful exhuberance after a game.

    Oh, let’s not forget the radio broadcasts. Maybe they’ll hire a local sports celebrity and John Rendleman to do the broadcasts.

    I guess if we use imagination, smoke, and mirrors, we can come up with all types of possibilities.

  • guesty says:

    Valet parking with a personal valet for each attendee.

  • confused1 says:

    And probably most of the construction workers will be from out of town and undocumented.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    is any indicator, there will be no significant use of local trade labor.

    Where did labor come from on other Mandalay projects in other states?

  • SurfCityTom says:

    are you certain about your first statement? Are you the Mike of Atanta Braves Baseball who is not returning calls?

    Mike: many are still waiting for you to present your pin-point review on every facet of the proposal so all of us, who know something about running a business profitably, will see where we erred.

    Mike: when did you ever say “let the pros do their job”?

    Let’s see, with regards to stadiums. What about Grainger in Kinston? The Indians departed for “greener” pastures at 5 County Stadium. What’s going on in Kinston? They could barely average 2,000 paid attendance per game in a town with no beach, movie theatres, or a restaurant better than Ruby Tuesday.

    And what would the fate of 5 County have been had the Indians not relocated?

    On another note, there had been concern when Ripkin Baseball was initially selected to do the review. Mandalay had to choose their own “pro”.

    On their website, it’s noted they are in Partnership with the Yankees. Nowhere did I see a reference to a partnership with Atlanta.

    Should that not be of concern to someone in Atlanta?

  • GuestMan says:

    Why don’t you reveal yours? Or will you decline AGAIN?

  • surfcitypoo says:

    How about you butt-out and go back to Pender county?

  • SurfCityTom says:

    IF, I did not own real estate in the city; and what the city does to impact tax rates and property values affects my holdings.

    Why don’t you get a job and get off entitlements?

    On the other hand, why don’t all these self serving accountants and business experts like Mikey show us all how far off base we are by just taking the proposal piece by piece and laying out the numbers?

    They know if they do, the proposal will show it’s true color.

  • Mike T says:

    It’s neither my job nor yours to develop the business plan for Baseball in the city of Wilmington. They have hired someone for that. My job and yours is to go get in the car and drive to the Ball Park, buy a ticket and enjoy some good entertainment. My position on the business side of the ball park is simple. Every city the size of Wilmington or larger has some form of sports arena for either major league or minor. You and people like you are on the dark side where ventures fail.
    All you see is doom. I on the other hand I prefer to remain in the light where ventures succeed. Maybe you have some explanation as to why so many stadiums exist. How is it possible that within 200 miles of us there are at least 15 stadiums or arenas both public and private or a combo of each? Whens the last time one closed? As I have said let the pros do their job. If they cant make it work we will know that very soon.
    In the mean time get a life!!

  • SurfCityTom says:

    your point is what?

  • 1981duke says:

    No sir you are totally wrong,or are you jealous?

  • 1981duke says:

    If we do not do anyhring debt will increase as this brings jobs,economic hope.

  • Jjjjjj says:

    The taxpayers should have zero skin in the game, and I am a baseball fan. We already spend 43% of our budget on debt service here. Let private business pay for all of it or go somewhere else. I will not vote for any one that supports any public funds being used.

  • Guest chris mcpeck says:

    bottom line . how many jobs will it bring &
    what will the pay rate be ,,, if this went on ?

  • Guest Reply says:

    What an actor this Saffo fella is. Says whatever to save his possibility of re-election when he lost his stadium thingy. Well…One Baseball rule “will follow him” in the upcoming election anyway…because “3 Strikes and You Are OUT applies here!!!”
    1. Convention Center Hotel
    2. Monkey Junction Land Grab
    3. And not least…a ball field
    Guess the Money Junction slap on he wrist took some steam out of him, because…….the extra revenue ain’t there “No Mo”.
    Think about it folks. It’s Oscar Time in City Hall…HA!!!!
    Hardy Har Har Har!!!

  • Mike T says:

    Saffo and Company are Milkin the Cow. Remember, It ain’t over till the Fat Lady Sings.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    is it not about time for you to display your business finesse and magic with accounting to show us all how wrong we are?

    You’ve been called out on it enough. Take the proposal and show how the numbers actually play out.

    At the very least, why not reveal your true identity?

    If the City Council thinks it’s a bad proposal, that should say something.

  • jason says:

    Snaffo was all in favor for a baseball team, and building it on “his” property. Now, there are other interests involved. The Camerons offered to donate land. Wake up Mr. Mayor. If you keep going like you are, you will be just like Jason Thompson, voted out and wondering where the heck you went wrong. We are tired of the rich keep getting rich. Go back to selling property instead of taxing everyone else and annexing just to build up your wallet!

  • ChefnSurf says:

    syc·o·phant (s k -f nt, s k -). n. A servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people.

    Gee Mikey, you must have even more skins in the game than $affo!

    $affo and Co. have been milking the taxpayer cow for far too long for their own benefit. This stadium will create nothing but “udder” disaster financially and yet once again the taxpayers will be left holding “the bag”.

    P.S. A special message to the Fat Lady: Put a sock in it!

  • 1981duke says:

    We do need it,beach is not enough.
    People need jobs.
    People want a vibrant Downtown economy.
    People want something we can unify around.
    People want identidy for their community.

    We need this more than most know.
    Get it Built Bill

  • GuestMan says:

    The April 2011 edition of Our State magazine had an article on the Kinston baseball team. It averaged less than 1800 people a game. Now, let’s face it, there is not a lot else to do in Kinston and if that was all they could draw with no beach or much else to take their money then this does not look good and is probably why they moved to Zebulon. Even still, the article said it still drew more attendence than 34 other minor league teams around the country. We don’t need it.

  • OtherGuest says:

    Why don’t you just report the fact that it was stated in the radio interview, your tv station had nothing to do with it!

  • What do I think ? says:

    Don’t forget the proposal included that the developers would own the land.You think the developers are going to let the city build it on their property for nothing… What do you suppose the payments on a land lease would be in 30 years ? If the city owned the building they would be locked into whatever payments the developers set. Only option city would have to get out or not to pay would be to sell the stadium. Who do you suppose would want to buy it ? This isn’t about short term gratification they need to look at the long term benefits and risks.

  • Wilmington Observer says:

    I do not want my (tax) dollars utilized for baseball.

    Wilmington Observer

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