Zebulon, North Carolina, The Latest Minor Baseball League City To Lose Its Franchise

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The business is moving to Wilson, North Carolina.

Minor League Baseball’s Carolina Mudcats franchise is exiting Zebulon, North Carolina following the 2025 season and the business is headed to Wilson, North Carolina. Zebulon and Wilson are about 25 miles apart but the two places are worlds apart when it comes to spending taxpayers’ dollars for a stadium-village. Zebulon is losing the Mudcats franchise because Major League Baseball has a mandate. In 2020, MLB took over Minor League Baseball and lopped off 42 teams. MLB told the rest of the minor league franchise owners and officials in towns with teams that all stadiums better be up to MLB standards by 2025 or the franchise will be relocated. MLB is not playing around with municipalities. The message is simply give us money or land to build a stadium or the team will be gone. MLB owners gave the green light to Oakland Athletics franchise owner John Fisher to relocate his business to Las Vegas after Fisher could not extract a stadium deal from Oakland and Alameda County elected officials.

In mid-December, Wilson elected officials voted unanimously to approve a $69 million plan to build a new ballpark for the Mudcats ownership and Major League Baseball. The stadium-village plan will feature a 4,500-seat stadium along with apartments and townhomes, retail space and a hotel with at least 80 rooms. Wilson has money available, Zebulon did not. “We want the Mudcats to stay. We’ve done everything we can to keep the Mudcats,” Wake County Commissioner Don Mial said. “The problem is, from what we’ve been able to surmise, they want a new stadium built. We’d be looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $80-90 million. The county, at this particular time, we just don’t have those kinds of funds.” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and his 30 owners don’t care about fan loyalty, it is all about making money.

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