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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new TV commercial hopes to tune in Wilmington taxpayers. The commercial aims to attract support from folks not interested in using tax dollars to pay for a new ballpark.

The group behind the new ad hopes to draw in more support from the community that they say should not be held financially responsible for the ballpark.

“This process has not been fair to the taxpayer of Wilmington,” said Chris Farr of Americans for Prosperity, which paid for the ad.

These Wilmington residents say they do not want to pay for a new ballpark, and they’re taking their opinion on the airwaves.

Scott Harry is featured in the 30-second commercial that will play on cable stations across the Cape Fear. He says enough is enough.

“I cannot stand another tax, especially on a luxury we cannot afford, especially in this economic climate,” Harry, founder of the Privately Funded Baseball Alliance, said.

Americans for Prosperity paid $20,000 to run the ad. Members say they fully support the efforts of the Privately Funded Baseball Alliance, because they believe citizens should know where their money is going.

“Not only is this a bad project and a bad deal for taxpayers, but these taxpayers have a right to know every step of the process in a very open and transparent way, and that is not happening here in Wilmington,” AFP’s Dallas Woodhouse said.

Meanwhile the city’s consultant, National Sports Services, continues to work on figuring out if a plan to build the ballpark is a good one for Wilmington. NSS says customer surveys show an overlap between what the city wants and where the citizens stand.

NSS will present those findings along with information on possible sites for the ballpark at a 6:30 p.m. at Wilmington City Hall.

Comment on this Story

  • SurfCityTom

    if this is such a good financial deal, with a cornucopia of money available for all parties who sign up to participate, then open the flood gates and let all of these individuals, who know so much, open their check books and pledge their respective net worth, to fund this folly.

    In fact why not go further. Let the WHA use some of its funds to invest in this sure fire money maker. How about the Teachers? They’ve not had a raise in years; let the Teachers Union invest some of the Pension fund in this project.

    If you’re not putting chips on the table, you should not be supporting this albatross.

  • 1981duke

    When you are open minded,look at the facts…………

  • ChefnSurf

    … what the city wants and where the citizens stand.”

    – “the city” and “the citizens” are supposed to be the same thing. Even “the city’s” paid consultant acknowledges they’re now two different entities. That’s just wrong.

    – Instead of a survey by NSS, the designated consultant of Mandalay, the Braves, and apparently “the city”, why not a referendum? A referendum is the only fair, unbiased way for all parties to have an equal say on the stadium issue.

    “The city’s” continued resistence to a referendum can only lead “the citizens” to the conclusion that a back-room deal is in play somewhere behind the scenery. A deal that would benefit those who are “the city” far more than it will benefit those who are “the citizens”. That would also be wrong. Really wrong.

    It’s getting to be way past time for “the city” to start being “the citizens” again.

  • 1981duke

    Why let a few control the FUTURE of Southeastern,N.C. when the majority of customers come from outside the city.
    The City restarants,merchants,Hotels and the City itself will see increased sales tax revenues year one of 10-11 million dollars.
    The City will prosper more than other areas,and the amount of any tax to tazpayers will be far less than revenues derived.
    The City will be greatly rewarded financially with more revenue coming in versus taxpayers paying out.
    What is so bad about this?

  • 1981duke

    Now that puts the’OLD SCARE” into the process.
    Not the facts,scare em…

  • SurfCityTom

    I have looked at the facts. If you’re looking at them, it must be through rose tinted glasses.

    Again, I challenge you.

    Take one aspect of the proposal. Dispassionately, analyze the numbers. Then share that with all of us.

    EXample: 65 home games; 6200 paid seats — if all games sell out — yields 403,000 possible tickets sold. Now subtract 24,800 tickets sold to account for rain outs made up as double headers or for an infrequent double header. That yields 378,200 tickets sold; and that assumes all games sell out. The city gets $1 for each ticket sold after the first 300,000. So the city gets $78,200 in ticket revenue.

    It’s in the proposal. This is not some wishful thinking — although it is likely folly to think all games will be sold out.

    Ball is in your court now Duke.

    Why don’t you take one aspect of the proposal and lay it out for all of us.

    Here, let me suggest one facet.

    How about jobs directly associated with the ballpark? How many will be working in or on the facility once it opens? And remember, players, managers, and coaches are all employees of the Big League team. So just how many groundskeepers, concessionaires, and ticket takers as well as box office personnel will be hired. And don’t forget, most of those, with the exception of groundskeepers, will be working game days only; so that’s 65 days worked per position.

    Here’s another. What is the average attendance at Winston Salem, Greensboro, or Durham games now? After a few years have passed? How about under 2,000 per game? So why not fast forward a couple of years; and crunch those numbers? With an average attendance of 2,000, that yields about 130,000 paid tickets; the city gets no ticket revenue; still has to service the debt; and could face the team’s departure due to poor attendance. It happened in Zebulon; they had to lure the Kinston team to move.

    Now Grainger Stadium in Kinston sits empty; they averaged 1,800 per game in their last season; and there’s nothing to do in Kinston. So with no beach or downtown to serve as distractions, Kinston and the surrounding counties, which would include Jones, Wayne, Greene, and Sampson, could not support a team with modest attendance. And they offred every discount imaginable to lure fans in. And failed. Thankfully, Grainger is older and debt free.

    There you have it Duke. Your challenge, if you are Man enough to accept reality and take off the rose tinted glasses.

  • GuestAboutTown

    Duke, I am very open minded. I have looked at the arguments and have not been satisfied with the representations made by the pro-stadium interests.

    Here are some simple facts. Investors have a choice whether to buy, hold or sell an interest in a business. Taxpayers do not. The baseball interests are mouthing hype about the benefits of this project, not giving clear and understandable factual information about the benefits (if any) of this venture.

    Next, how much better is this single A team compared to the Wilmington Sharks? Really, you think people are going to travel for miles and miles to see a non-factor team competing in the bush league?

    Surf City Tom has repeatedly questioned (much more persistently and patiently than I am willing to do) about the financial efficacy of this whole project and nobody has provided any answers in the way of readable, transparent financial data and projections. Suitable answers to his inquiries have NOT been provided, only hype.

    Why hasn’t there been a public offering to solicit capital for this venture? I’ll hazard an answer: the projections that the stadium interests are hyping to City Hall wouldn’t pass investment bankers’ and SEC scrutiny.

  • Guesttenheimer

    …remove your rose colored glasses and face reality!

  • Guest CommonTater

    sheeple….. baaaaa! Boondoggle!

    This is great for pretty boy saffron. It is a distraction from all the other council failures. Attention should be paid to the infrastructure. You know the types of things tax money should go towards? Government doesn’t need to be in the baseball business.

    Now if this is completely privately funded bring it on! If it is such a great idea then private investors will be lined up to reap the profits from this “wonderful idea”. The “rich”, as folks around here like to complain about, have a nose for money right? So where the hell is the line?

  • 1981duke

    The jobs year 1,construction phase 640 for 12-15 months.
    The jobs year after construction,
    35 full time
    100-105 seasonal

    Average attendance per game 5,000
    Stadium Capacity 6200
    Projected attendance after year 1 is 5,000-5200 per year.
    Home Games 70 regular season,playoff 5-7 more.
    Concerts/events and other 70-80 days usage,more than baseball.
    Tournanents for Collegee,high schools 5-7 days

    ECONOMIC IMPACT via inctrased sales via restarants,shops,business,services,hotels,concession stand is 10-11 is $ nillions 10-11+ annually,taxes paid by Braves on land,30 year lease,concession stand profits and more.

    Specific details to City Conncil June 15th 2012,you like to shoot holes,no problem and once you see breakdown you and old Tom will be impressed and depressed as you and your group remediary at best.
    However the deal might get better………..wait and see.
    By the way 90% of which you write is “puff:,”air”.”destortion” at the best

  • Vog46

    If 1240 expressed the thought that baseball would be good for Wilmington but 4000 signed a petition against using taxpayer dollars for it what does this tell you?

    It tells me that we want baseball here in Wilmington but not enough to pay for it with taxpayer dollars.
    I like baseball – particularly minor league baseball. Its great entertainment at a good price (usually) – but for the city to own a stadium, at what, $39M dollars to me is absurd.

    Best Regards

  • SurfCityTom

    you continue to blow hot air into your number projections.

    You state average game attendance will be 5,000 the first year and then 5,000 to 5,200 in subsequent years.

    2 Points.

    Point A — no first year team has generated that level of game day attendance, regardless of the city location.

    Point B — no team has seen game day attendance remain steady or increase after the first year of team play.

    Look at Kinston, Zebuloan, Greensboro, Winston Salem, or Durham. They’re lucky to average attendance of 2,000 paying fans per game. Note I said average. Many weeknights, they’re lucky to average 1,000.

    35 Full time jobs. Guess again, Duke. Take any of the teams listed, you’ll see no more than 15 full time jobs; in fact the majority of full time employees is fewer than 12. Why not check Lynchburg? They have 10 full time employees. Check any team, they use interns, students on summer break. Concession workers are all day laborers; work maybe 4 hours per game; hardly full time during the season.

    640 construction related jobs. Maybe; but you will never see that number, at one time, on the project. Every construction trade, plumbers, electricians and so forth will only be working during their phase of the construction.

    Will the construction contract be put out for bid? Will local general contractors and trade constractors have the opportunity to bid for portions of the project? Or, will the contract be given to a General Contractor from Atlanta?

    I continue to be amazed at the manner in which you throw out unsupported numbers.

    10 to 11 million dollars of increased sales tax revenue is your number. Is that the city’s portion of the sales tax revenue or is that the total amount of sales tax revenue?

    Regardles of your answer, and I am confident you will blowhard 4 or 5 paragraphs to avoid a straight answer, it will take approximately $125 MILLION in additional sales activity to generate $10 Million in total additional sales tax revenue. And from that $10 Million, what will the state take? Maybe $8 MIllion? Leaving the City with Two Million dollars not $10 Million.

    Downtown businesses already struggle to lure locals to frequent businesses after 6 in the evening. At least half of the 70 home games will be played after 6:00 in the evening during the week and on Saturday. If there is a challenge now to get local support for downtown businesses after dark, one must assume the same challenge will apply for the ball park; and that will dramatically lower the average game attendance you propose.

    And during the summer months, what will th impact of colleges being out for the summer have on your proposed attendance? I forgot.

    You would have evryone believe vacationers willflock off of Wrightsville Beach or one of the other beaches to take in a minor league baseball game. Let’s see, most of the vacationers come from areas which have their own minor lleague beaseball teams. If they want to spend money to see a game, it is far more likely they will do so back home and not in Wilmington.

    Keep up the good research. Every time you post these ridiculous numbers, with no confirmation and there are sources available, you make it more challenging for the developer, city and that research company to drum up support.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Every single taxpayer funded sports venue in the country had these rosey, overly optimistic numbers thrown at them, and for the suckers who bit the hook, they found cold, hard, reality crashing down around their ears.

    You will be lucky to see enough revenue stream to pay the debt. Have a losing team and you will have to raise taxes to even cover the debt.

  • 1981duke

    They will need alot more than 20K to compete with Star News Online Survey of May 22 2012 ant 1757 polled and results are below,

    Still, an overwhelming majority of the survey takers – 1,240 of them – said they “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” about a statement that the presence of a minor league baseball team would be beneficial to Wilmington. Those who strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed with that statement added up to 513.


    The public has spoken “PRO” Stadium and Baseball many times,and will purdue through fruition.

  • Guester

    If these “prosperous Americans” are so certain no one in Wilmington wants a baseball stadium, why are they dropping $20K for a commercial? Seems to me they could be doing better things with that money…

  • SurfCityTom

    with these blow hard numbers.

    Specifically,where is the increased sales tax revenue coming from? And why is it necessary for a ball park to be present to create it?

    Be specific.

  • ChefnSurf

    And the answer is: Because the people voting in the referendum would be the only ones with actual skins in the game, that’s why.

    Couldn’t help but notice the plethora of puerile, pollyanesque perceptions you’ve been perpetually posting recently. Perhaps instead of posting whatever pops into your mind at the moment, you should give some consideration to thinking prior to typing. Bad grammar aside, many of your disjointed posting replies barely even address the issues you’re replying to. In a few cases, you’ve even replied to your own posts or argued both sides of the same issue. Real facts and figures are definitely not within the realm of your reality. Wild speculation on your part seems to be your raison d’ être. The word manic comes to mind. For your sake, I hope that’s not the case.

    Regardless, consider this reply to be a one time response. Anything more than that would simply be a waste of time.

  • 1981duke

    10-11 MILLION SALES TAX INVREASES ANNUALLY+ from restarants,retail,hotels,tourism,concessions,stadium this is conservative.
    What other industry,company lining up to come here,let me answer this,
    No-One,No 1

  • guesty

    Titan wants to come here, GE is expanding and you are nuts.

  • SurfCityTom

    who does not answer specific questions.

    Wilmington is a tourist attraction.

    Why is it necessary for a ball park to be built? It’s not done wonders in Winston Salem or Greensboro. There’s been no outbreak in restaurant and hotel construction in either city; and they do not have the beaches to compete with for tourist revenue.

    It succeeded in Durham because they located the replacement in an area so bleak and run down that even razing the abandoned tobacco warehouses would have been an improvement over the blight which was present.

    Will that 10 to 11 million dollars appear in the first year? Will that be additional sales tax revenue? And will that be the city’s portion or will that be the total prior to the State dipping into the pot for its share?

    How did you arrive at those numbers? Did you even take basic math?

    To generate $10,000,000 in additional sales tax revenue in the city, one would need to generate about $125,000,000 in additional sales.

    You’re stating thsi additional sales tax revenue will be the direct result of the ball park being constructed. So that $125,000,000 in additional sales revenue will be a direct result of the ball park being constructed.

    What’s the city budget now and how much sales tax revenue funnels in, now, to help cover the city’s operating costs?

    The city consistently has to deal with budget deficits. Would appear your proposal adds to that deficit.

    Is your ego such that you believe the property tax payers of Wilmington will accept as gospel the unsupported number posting you and a few others engage in?

    Every time you post, you dig a deeper hole for the proponents of the plan. If you’re going to debate using numbers, you might want to crunch a few before you post.


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