Minor League Baseball Operators Continue To Score Public Money

It all about money.

 

November was a good month for a couple of Minor League Baseball operators. The owner of the Binghamton, New York Double A Rumble Ponies, John Hughes, got five million dollars from New York State and the city of Binghamton, which is a depressed area, to renovate the Rumble Ponies stadium. The upgrades will be done by the opening of the 2019 season and will include replacements of seats, new video boards, a new sound system and a renovated home clubhouse. Hughes will kick in $100,000 and agreed to keep the team in Binghamton through the 2026 season. New York State has invested millions of dollars to keep the ballpark in Binghamton ballpark up to whatever the Major League standards of 2019. In 2014, the Binghamton stadium got a new videoboard. In 2016, there were upgrades including new stadium lighting.

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Silber family got a deal done with the city council to move their Potomac Nationals Class A baseball franchise to the city. The Silbers will keep the franchise in Prince William County in 2019 and then make the 37-mile move to Fredericksburg in 2020. The Silber family will spend $35 million to build the stadium but Fredericksburg will send a little more than a million a year back over a 30-year period to the Silbers so the city can get 183 days a year.  City elected officials think stadium taxes might be able to cover the expenditure.  Minor League operators have been finding small and mid-sized cities willing to invest money into stadiums thinking that the stadium could be an economic generator. Worcester, Massachusetts and Wichita, Kansas taxpayers will be picking up the cost of new Triple A stadiums in those cities. In Amarillo, Texas, $45 million will be spent to build a small stadium for a Double A team. Minor League Baseball operators are playing the stadium game very successfully.

 

Tampa Bay Rays