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What you need to know about the business of baseball

As I've watched this whole discussion about a ballpark in Wilmington unfold, one thing has become abundantly clear: Not enough people understand the business of baseball.

To be sure, I am not a certified expert on this subject, but I do believe based on my love and knowledge of the sport, including its business side, and a lot of what I've heard in the last several days, there's just a lot of general naivete and ignorance about what's going on here that I can help clear up. I'm not saying that to be insulting by any means. I'm just saying there's a certain level of education needed on this subject that I think will help people understand this process to bring baseball to Wilmington and let everyone ask the right questions to get the right answers.

Let's start with some very basic things, like the structure of professional baseball. We are all familiar with Major League Baseball. There are 30 teams in major cities divided into two, three-division leagues. This is the top level of baseball. Each of those teams has what's known as a farm system. That means Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams that are affiliated with each MLB franchise.

There are several different levels in Minor League Baseball. Each MLB team has an affiliate in each of those levels. The top level in MiLB is AAA. This is typically from where guys are "called up" to fill spots on the Major League roster or "sent down" when they are not cutting it in the big leagues. Below that is AA, then high-level A, low-level A and Rookie League. As you can probably figure, the lower the level, the lesser the talent and experience.

OK, so Wilmington is looking to become the home for the current Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats of the high-level A Carolina League. That means while some future Major Leaguers would play here at some point, they would likely be at least two to three years away from the Majors. In reality you will likely only have a handful of future Major League players in any given year and an even smaller number who will become big-league regulars. The truth is that most of these guys will never play in the Majors and will probably be out of baseball within a couple of years.

Aside from a few "bonus babies" (top draft picks who get high-dollar signing bonuses) most of the players will make about $1,000 a month during the season. For the Hillcats, this season features a 140-game schedule with 10 off days, including the three-day All-Star Break in June. Most of those off days will be spent making long bus trips to another city. This is not the big salaries and first-class life of the Majors. Watch "Bull Durham" to get an idea. In fact, that's the perfect way, because this team is the old Durham Bulls made famous by that movie. Seriously. The Bulls were the Carolina League affiliate for the Braves from 1980 to 1997. In 1998, they became the AAA affiliate in the International League for the MLB expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. That same year, the Braves moved their affiliate in the Carolina League to Danville, VA, and then moved again the next year to Myrtle Beach to become the Pelicans. That team moved to Lynchburg last year and became the Hillcats, and now the Braves want to move it to Wilmington.

And that's where the business side of things come in.

A lot of people are worried that if the Braves can move a team here from Lynchburg via Myrtle Beach via Danville via Durham, that may mean they could turn around and leave Wilmington. It's not that simple. Again, the team left Durham after 18 seasons because the Bulls got a better opportunity from Tampa Bay to move up to AAA. They went to Danville for one season only because the stadium in Myrtle Beach was not yet ready. The Braves left Myrtle Beach because the Pelicans were sold to the owner of MLB's Texas Rangers, who decided to (logically) affiliate his MiLB team with his MLB team. Meanwhile, the Braves, who own all of their other farm teams, signed a player development deal with Lynchburg while they searched for a home for a Carolina League team they would own themselves. And that's where Wilmington comes into play. As for them picking up and leaving, the Braves and partner Mandalay Baseball Properties say they are willing to sign a 20-year lease in Wilmington. In MiLB terms, that's pretty darn good. Put that in the "Pro" column in this debate.

So why Wilmington? Well, the Braves say we are in "Atlanta Braves Country." During their presentation to Wilmington City Council Monday night, the Braves defined "Atlanta Braves Country" as Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. That's where the Braves want to put all their farm teams, which they would own, and Wilmington is the final piece to the puzzle.

The big question, of course, is why the taxpayers of Wilmington should have to pay for a stadium so major players in a multi-billion-dollar industry can make more money? Blame that on the Major Leagues.

In the 1960s and 1970s many cities got into the sports stadium business. Multi-use stadiums were all the rage. Cookie-cutter steel and concrete monstrosities (usually with hard as rock artificial turf) in which a MLB and pro football team could play popped up in places like New York (Shea Stadium), Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium), Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Stadium), Washington (RFK Stadium), Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium), Atlanta (Fulton Co. Stadium), St. Louis (Busch Stadium), Houston (Astrodome), Minneapolis (Metrodome), San Diego (Jack Murphy Stadium), San Francisco (Candlestick Park) and even Toronto (Exhibition Stadium) and Montreal (Stade Olympique). And that doesn't count the single-sport stadiums and basketball/hockey arenas. Of all those stadiums, only Busch Stadium in St. Louis was privately owned.

A couple decades later, as many of those stadiums began to show their age and the economics of sports changed, teams started demanding new, nicer stadiums paid for at least in part with public money. Sometimes they even threatened to move to another city. Fearing a loss of part of their cultural identity and various revenue streams, many city and state governments blinked first (with the notable exception of Montreal) and approved hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding for new stadiums and arenas.

Eventually, that mindset trickled down to Minor League Baseball, where there was a greater demand from cities than there was a supply of teams. I grew up a fan of the Columbia (SC) Mets/Capital City Bombers and Spartanburg (SC) Phillies. Before the 1990 season, the City of Columbia tore down old, wooden Capital City Ballpark and replaced it with the concrete and steel Capital City Stadium at a cost of several million dollars. In 2005, the team moved to Greenville, SC, where a new stadium opened the following year. The Phillies bolted north of the border to Kannapolis in 1995. Why? A nice, new stadium, instead of Spartanburg's antiquated Duncan Park, where the Phillies had played for decades. And that's been the trend. If you build it, someone will come... and leave another city with an empty stadium.

Now, again, the Braves say they are willing to sign a 20-year lease. Also, having the team owned by its MLB parent is another big plus. That means deep pockets bank-rolling the team. The failure of many MiLB franchises is because of small-time ownership that can't absorb the lean times while waiting for the good ones or that can't afford the promotional tools needed to make a Minor League team successful from a business standpoint.

That brings up another point: Minor League Baseball is not just about baseball. Let's face it. You're not going to a Minor League game to see the greatest players on the planet. You're going out for a night of affordable fun, which is usually made up of baseball, giveaways, dizzy bat races and 25-cent hot dog night. What happens in between innings is possibly just as important as what happens on the diamond.

So does baseball make sense for Wilmington? Maybe. As much as the Braves and Mandalay would like us to believe it will succeed as it has to a record-setting extent in Dayton, OH, that's a poor comparison. I'm sure Dayton is a lovely town, but it's 1,000 miles or so from the ocean, and that's a big factor when comparing it to Wilmington. Baseball will have some other very popular summertime activities competing against it here that a town like Dayton does not; namely the beach. But that could also be a plus. When the sun goes down, and the tourists and locals need something to do after enjoying the surf and sand all day, a ballgame will be a good option. But it will also have to compete with things like summer concert series, bars and restaurants, movies under the stars, the Carolina Beach carnival rides, Jungle Rapids, etc.

The bigger issue, of course, is should taxpayers foot the bill? I think that depends on the terms. Will the Braves/Mandalay get ALL the revenues from the ballpark? Can the city negotiate for part of them, whether it be parking or the naming rights for the ballpark as some cities have? How much sales tax will it generate? What kind of overall impact will the ballpark have to the area around it, including the restaurants and bars downtown? How much will the Braves/Mandalay pay for rent during that 20-year lease? Will/can tickets include a tax specifically ear-marked for the debt service or at least upkeep of the ballpark? Will the city raise property taxes or float a bond?

The impact questions can't be answered definitively unless you actually build the stadium and see how it goes. Some of the other questions can and must be answered up front. If you're a taxpayer who will be directly affected by this ballpark, then you owe it to yourself to make sure those questioned are answered and answered to your liking.

There are plenty of reasons why baseball is the national pastime, and why tens of millions of people pay to go to games each and every year. If done correctly, bringing baseball to Wilmington could benefit the Port City in many ways. If not, it could be an albatross around the taxpayers' collective neck for generations.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo

Baseball agreement

Answers to Port City Baseball’s fast Facts/ Illusions; PCB aka “Fields of Schemes”

Major Economic Benefits and Job Creation:

1-Economic Impact – The city’s independent consultant projected the multi-use facility will generate an economic impact of $242 million in Wilmington.
Answer: They fail to state if this amount is each year or over the 20 year period that the tax payers will be on the “hook” for the loan payments. Ask these people to break this down and show where/how this money will be spent. The money spent in the stadium is money that would be spent in the city and county anyway. This is not “new revenue,” it redistribution of money that would be spent at other locations, thus hurting existing businesses, not helping them. The use of tax payer money to subsidize this stadium is unfair to the businesses that did not receive millions and millions of dollars in subsidies. It gives the stadium an unfair advantage and is why the government needs to stay out of private enterprise.

2-Wages for Wilmington – Over the term of the bond the multi-use facility’s operations will support $74 million in wages to Wilmington residents
Answer: The agreement states 25 full time jobs @ approx. $32,000.00 per year. 25 x 32 = $640,000.00 per year. Multiply this by 20 years and the full time employees receive $12,800,000.00 over 20 years. This leaves $61,200,000.00 according to their figures to pay the popcorn and peanut salesmen over 20 years. Does anyone really believe this? Once again ask them to break down their ridiculous claim……

3-Hotels, Restaurants, & Retail – The facility will bring additional visitors to our city and draw consumers to Wilmington establishments. Visiting teams and officials will generate an estimated 1,750 hotel room stays each year, with visiting fans booking even more.
Answer: The greatest majority of fans attending minor league single A baseball games live within 30 miles of the stadium. They eat and drink in the stadium and go home when the game is over. There is no economic benefit to other businesses and since Mandalay keeps all the money generated inside the stadium, the tax payers and businesses get nothing for their 58 million dollar investment.

4-A Multi-Use Facility – The city has estimated the facility could host at least 150 events per year, such as private functions, corporate events, community gatherings, or charity events.
Answer: The contract calls for up to/maybe 10 non baseball events per year by the city, and the city has to pay Mandalay to oversee these events. 70 baseball games and “maybe” 10 other events put on by the city does not equal 150 yearly events. Once again another blanket statement issued without any proof or list of events. They offer no breakdown of each event showing they will be profitable either. Remember if Mandalay puts on other events, Mandalay gets 100% of the profits from these events. Please ask for a list of “other” events and how many per year has Myrtle Beach done. Anyone can estimate anything, does Port City Baseball have any verifiable facts they can present?

5-A Public / Private Project:
Answer: Where is the private investment? The Wilmington tax payers spend 58 million dollars (and counting), and Mandalay, The Braves, and their billionaire owner get ALL the PROFITS! What a deal for “The Three Beggars.”

6-The True Cost for Taxpayers – The bond referendum will be financed with a 2.5-cent property tax rate increase. For the average Wilmington homeowner, this is about four dollars per month.
Answer: This cost per tax payer depends on the tax value of your property. If property values increase, the cost increases. Multiply 2.5 per 100 dollar tax value to figure what your tax increase will be. Everyone needs to ask themselves if they feel the need to vote themselves a tax increase to subsidize a man whose wealth is 5.4 BILLION DOLLARS. His net worth has increased 300 million dollars in the last 6 months. These people, the members of the Billionaires Beggar Club, need to pay for their own projects. Has anyone that he is asking to pay for this stadium seen any increase in their personal wealth? That the city government would even ask the tax payers to fund this is ridiculous……The cost of the stadium if the Mayor and councilman O’Shady are to be believed, is 37 million dollars. This financed for 20 years equals approx. 58 million dollars. The cost of the bond if property values stay the same for 20 years is 75 million dollars. It would appear that there is a slush fund built into it for the government that totals at least 17 million dollars. Ask the Mayor what this money will be used for. The Convention Center comes to mind, that other can’t miss project that loses money every single day……It looks like a plan to get the tax payers to fund the CC without telling them they are doing it……………..

7-Major Private Investment – The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball will invest significantly in the project. In addition to paying the highest rent in the Carolina League, the owners will make a multi-million dollar investment to purchase and relocate a team, pay operations costs, and pay all players’ salaries.
Answer: They get a 58 million dollar stadium handed to them, and they agree to pay “their players” and the light bill. The highest rent is an illusion. Subtract the office space rent from this amount and the fees Mandalay gets to oversee the city’s events, and then you will know the true amount they will pay in rent. I would also like to know if they get to keep all the ticket revenue, concessions, and all in stadium advertising at these other locations. Mandalay also gets the first $350,000.00 of naming rights for the stadium and 50% over the first $350,000.00. Mandalay also gets 2.9 million dollars handed to them up front to buy furniture with. This is $100,000.00 less than 6 years rent. This highest rent claim is not accurate when everything in the contract is considered. 20 years rent @ $500,000.00 equals 10 million dollars. If you just subtract the 2.9 million for furniture and the 350 thousand naming rights the rent is down to $337,500.00 per year. The $500,000.00 per year is an illusion......

8-A Long-Term Commitment to the Community – The Atlanta Braves have legally committed to field a team in Wilmington for at least 20 years.
Answer: Read the contract, this is a lie. Mandalay can leave whenever they want. The Braves are only obligated for 18 months if Mandalay leaves. There is the very real possibility that Wilmington could be stuck with an empty stadium with a big mortgage. Check with Kinston and see how many events they hold in their deserted stadium and how profitable these events are. Also ask Kinston why their team left.
The Right Partners:

9-Sellout Crowds – Mandalay Baseball, the owner/operator for the proposed project, is one of the country’s most successful Minor League operators. Their team in Dayton, Ohio has set the professional sports record by selling out every single home game ever held, a consecutive 913 games and counting!
Answer: Wilmington is not Dayton. Dayton has over 1 million people within a 30 mile radius of their city. Wilmington has a little over 130 thousand. Wilmington has many other things to do. This is not an accurate example and the pro side knows it. Myrtle Beach does not sell out their stadium very often, why don’t they use this as an example?

10-Our Hometown Team – The Atlanta Braves are the longest continually-operating franchise in professional sports since their debut in the National League in 1876, winning 16 divisional titles, 17 National league pennants, and three World Series Championships. They are the only MLB franchise to have won the World Series in three different home cities. Wilmington is in Braves Country.
Answer: They are not bringing the Atlanta Braves to Wilmington. They want to bring the Lynchburg Hillcats. Single A baseball does not compare to Major League Baseball. This is just more fluff without substance.
The Right Location

11-Cape Fear Riverfront – The city has identified the northern Downtown riverfront as the location of the proposed ballpark. It will serve as a lynchpin in an area that many see as essential to the continuing growth of Wilmington.
Answer: What other businesses can afford to buy the polluted property on the river? Is Wilmington planning on buying the property, cleaning up the property, building their buildings for them, and then renting these buildings to them for a fraction of the loan costs while allowing them to keep all profits? If this is the long term plan, bankruptcy will be in Wilmington’s future.

Wilmington is currently paying its employees an average of 10% less than other local cities. This is causing high turnover rates and excessive training costs. The roads and sewers are in disrepair. Traffic is a huge problem without adding a stadium downtown. This is a recipe for disaster for the tax payers. People will not sit in traffic jams 70 times a year to watch minor league baseball. Other people will avoid the area on game days to avoid the traffic jams. This does not help the businesses around the stadium, it hurts them.

Braves,Mandalay,Baseball,Multi-Use Facility for City and Area

Kevin,
Thank you for this excellent article about Braves,Mandalay and the 'proposed" stadium and impact on our City and area.
We are a ripe marketplace and a top team.The Braves are known throughout Baseball as a premier franchise and Mandalay a top notch entertainment company who will book events monthly to drive traffic and revenues to our City.They{Mandalay) are solid,respected highly ethical in the entertainment industry and I urge to view their web-page,www.mandalay.com and you can see for yourself.
I also post below as these are highlights from the 02-07-2011 City Hall Meeting,
Quote,

WILMINGTON MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FAST FACTS

******************************************************

• At the February 7th regular meeting of the Wilmington City Council, the City of Wilmington, Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC and Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc. entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to actively explore and enter into exclusive negotiations regarding a public-private partnership to plan for, finance, develop and construct a ballpark in the City of Wilmington at a to-be-determined site for a Minor League Baseball team that Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves will jointly acquire – the Advanced A Carolina League Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats - with the intent to relocate it to the City.

• The Atlanta Braves are the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in America. Since their debut in the National League in 1876, the franchise has won 16 divisional titles, 17 National League pennants, as well as three World Series championships - in 1914 as the Boston Braves, in 1957 as the Milwaukee Braves, and in 1995 in Atlanta. The Braves are the only MLB franchise to have won the World Series in three different home cities.

• From 1991–2005 the Braves were one of the most successful franchises in baseball, winning division titles an unprecedented 14 consecutive times in that period. The Braves won the NL West 1991–93 and the NL East 1995–2005, and returned to the playoffs as the National League Wild Card in 2010. The Braves advanced to the World Series five times in the 1990s, winning the title in 1995.

• The Atlanta Braves own and operate six of their minor league affiliates – more than any other MLB team - including the Triple A International League Gwinnett Braves; the Double A Southern League Mississippi Braves; the Single A South Atlantic League Rome Braves; the Rookie Appalachian League Danville Braves; the Rookie Gulf Coast League Braves; and the Rookie Dominican Summer League Braves.

• Mandalay Baseball is considered one of the premier owners/operators in Minor League Baseball. Currently, Mandalay Baseball owns and/or operates the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Triple A International League affiliate of the New York Yankees; the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Triple A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Houston Astros; the Frisco (TX) RoughRiders, Double A Texas League affiliate of the Texas Rangers; the Erie (PA) SeaWolves, Double A Eastern League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers; and the Dayton (OH) Dragons, Single A Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

• During the 2011 season, Mandalay Baseball’s Dayton Dragons broke the longest sellout streak in professional sports at any level in North America of 814 games previously held by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Every Dragons game played at Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton since the club’s inception in 2000 has been a sellout– over 8,000 fans per game – and as of the end of last season the Dragons streak stands at 844 consecutive sellouts. Notable partners with Mandalay Baseball in the ownership of the Dayton Dragons include former Ohio State running back, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and NBA legend and basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

• Minor League Baseball enhances the quality of life in communities like Wilmington all across the country. It brings affordable family entertainment in a fun-filled atmosphere to fans of all ages as they watch the Major League Baseball stars of the future.

• 2011 saw Minor League Baseball complete its 110th season. It continues to be a huge box office success as regular season attendance surpassed 43,000,000 for the seventh consecutive year.

• The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball will have joint ownership in the team ensuring that Wilmington’s own minor league baseball team will always be a Braves affiliate.

• The Atlanta Braves/Mandalay Baseball partnership will enter into a long-term guaranteed lease with the City of Wilmington of at least 20 years.

• The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball partnership has more combined experience owning and operating successful minor league teams – 11 - than any other minor league owner/operator.

• Unlike other minor league teams based in Wilmington who played at Brooks Field on the UNCW campus, the new team will be playing in a state-of-the-art ballpark that in and of itself will be a reason for fans to come to games.

• The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball will make a commitment to the City of Wilmington to provide the absolute highest quality, affordable family entertainment with unsurpassed amenities and customer service.

• According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the one-time economic impact of the construction of the proposed ballpark alone is estimated to be $62,725,549 and will create 645 jobs.

• According to the same source, the on-going annual economic impact of the proposed ballpark alone is estimated to be $9,828,220 and the equivalent of 139 jobs.

These critical facts as individuals can make the best decisions based on facts,solid projections and we always welcome and value opinions as this will be the "economic engine" our city and area need to 'build a better Wilmington'
Thanks,
www.portcitybaseball.com

Baseball Stadium

Kevin, I enjoyed learning more about the business of MiLB and the proposed stadium. Even though I enjoy baseball, Wilmington, meaning tax payers, have no business entering the baseball business. Personally, I think it should be a rare exception that a city should enter into business arrangements with the private sector. Even if the city is, in effect, only the landlord it is very dependent on the private business to be successful and the city will probably have little control over that success, or failure. We do not need to be in the rental/real estate business.

As you pointed out, teams leave cities all the time, for various reasons. Twenty year agreement or not, Wilmington would stand a good chance of being burned. Businesses are often able to wiggle out of leases. Besides, would the stadium even be paid for in twenty years? If not, what happens then?

Supporters say the stadium will be used for other activities but those activities will depend on the weather. If it's a pay-at-the-door event and the weather is iffy, people will probably stay away.

I hope this stadium will not be crammed down our throats, and built, like the convention center. Even though the convention center is to be completely funded by room occupancy taxes I don't doubt that someday our tax dollars will have to be used to keep it afloat.

If the Braves want a team here, they should build the stadium. Then they can rent it out to help pay the mortgage.

Just a word about attendance. I attended a few games when the other two MiLB teams were here but attendance wasn't that good, if I recall.

The people in Richmond, VA seem to have done it right.

Done Deal

Folks, what you have to realize is that they are going to act like our input is important to them but our city council really doesn't care what we think. Just like the convention center.
This is a bailout for some over priced land that the taxpayers are going to own. A sweetheart deal. So, get used to it.
BTW, speaking of the convention center I tried getting a copy of the P&L for the last year of the convention center and called the city finance office 2 times and the lady won't even return my calls. I did go on the city site and looked at the CAFR for 2011 and on page 121 are SOME figures, but not a complete P&L. As a partial owner of the convention center you would think That wouldn't be a problem but I keep getting stonewalled. Kevin, maybe you could help on that.

convention center

The convention center was not funded by the tax payers of Wilmington.
It is funded by a room occupancy tax paid by visitors who stay in our hotels.

Very Good Points

at the end of the day, the Major League team is focused on making a profit or at the least breaking even. Their focus is on developing poorly paid players to a major league level or determining they do not have the skills and sending them on their way.

Look slightly north to Richmond. The Richmond Braves (AAA affiliate for Atlanta)played in Parker Field. It was a good location. The AA and A league franchises both played in the Norfolk area; players went up and down I-64 pretty frequently based on skill levels.

They had some great players go through -- Chipper Jones and Deon Sanders to name 2.

Then it was determined Parker Field must go due to age and condition.

Richmond business leaders banded together; sought and obtained private funding, and built "The Diamond". Not one cent of public money was required.

The season ended; demolition of Parker Field commenced the very next day; and the following opening day was held in "The Diamond".

Don't let them sell you on this location with an associated property tax increase.

They are focused on the most expensive piece of real estate in Wilmington for a construction site.

There are other, less expensive pieces of land available for a site.

This site will not be an inexpensive site for family outings. They have not talked about that.

Are we looking at $10 tickets? $5.00 beer? $4.00 Hot Dogs and peanuts? Maybe $5 or $10 to park your car?

The developer, and Mr. Hinnant, both note this will be a big boon for the area restaurants and hotels? How?

Do the math, a family of 4 is probably going to drop $100 for a one day outing at the ballpark. That may be an underestimate; you have to remember jerseys and souveniers.

Are they honestly expecting folks to believe boat owners will motor up and moor at the marina so they can attend the ball game?

Will folks honestly dine at Ruth's Chris or some over priced waterfront restaurant before attending a game?

If they honestly believe that, then they should be proposing some type of sales and use tax on restaurants, the hotel and the marina to help fund construction.

Let them put that proposal on the table and see how long existing restaurant owners will stand quietly by.

And as Mr. Wuzzardo notes, the ball team will be competing against the beaches and other area attractions.

The Sharks do rather well with attendance and expense control.

Build a big stadium, on the water, and what happens after the novelty wears off or the team fails to have a winning season? Remember, their goal is to develop players for promotion to the upper leagues; a winning season is secondary. The manager is judged primarily by his success in developing player talent; not winning a minor league title.

This could well be an albatross around the city's already strained finances.

Don't let the glitter, smoke, and mirrors blind you from looking realistically at this.

Make them do a complete study of the numbers and impact. Don't just accept a developer's promises. We've seen enough of those go down the commode over the past few years.

The numbers just don't work

I'm a huge baseball fan too, I love going to Sharks games and go to a few Mudcats games every season too.

The number I keep hearing for a 6000 seat Stadium is 40 million, bonding at Wilmington's AA+ rating the debt service will be roughly $80 million over 30 years. A year that is 2.7 million in debt service. A minor league team plays at most 140 games a year. Roughly half of them are home games. So 70 games a year. If we filled all 6000 seats, every game, all season, each seat would have to generate a little under $8 in revenue per seat to meet the debt service alone. What is the cost of an average minor league ticket? $8.

It just makes no financial sense for this city and we don't the fan base to sell out a stadium every game. The Mudcats are the most popular minor league in the region, They draw an average of 3400 per game.

Fan Base?

"It just makes no financial sense for this city and we don't the fan base to sell out a stadium every game".

Where are you getting your numbers?
How do you know what the fan base is?
What "inside" info do you have in regards to the actual cost to the residents of Wilmington or Wilmington and New Hanover County, or Wilmington, New Hanover County and ABC Inc. or any combination of the multitude of options that we have.

what numbers?

Everyone has all these numbers they are throwing around when the city has not put out any numbers. I am very doubtful the city will try to go this alone. Lets wait and see what kind of deal is worked out before we have a "out of body experience" over maybe nothing.

The Baseball File

Kevin, I agree. Just as I have stated, how can the proposal be condemned or supported when We, the citizens don't even know how it would be structured. There is a good chance something like this project along with the growth of the convention center after more rooms and other amenities are completed could add to the downtown area. I can see this as being a real positive IF, it is structured correctly in the City's favor. Remember, the man who is the director of the freak show by the name of Brian Berger is against this wholeheartedly and that is His right. But to judge something without even seeing the numbers is asinine and not good business. Just hear it out.