Small cities are finding money to subsidize minor league baseball stadiums.
Worcester, Massachusetts and Wichita, Kansas stepped into the stadium game and ended up with Triple A Minor League Baseball teams moving into those cities by 2021. The team owners were enticed by municipal economic handouts. The subsidies, local politicians think, will materialize in bringing additional money and create jobs. The chasing of minor league baseball teams, which contribute little in terms of being an economic generator, has extended to Minor League Baseball’s Double A level in Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo is building a small stadium by raising $45 million to fund the construction using local hotel taxes. Amarillo elected officials found a Washington, DC based company to do an economic study of having a Double A team in town and liked the outcome. A Double A baseball team would create 118 jobs and the city would make $3.5 million annually on the stadium. Amarillo city officials and the Elmore Sports Group reached an agreement that allows the minor league operators to move its San Antonio Texas League team to the new park.
The Elmore Sports Group is taking its Colorado Springs Triple A team to San Antonio. But the group expects a new stadium to be built. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is against using public funds for a new facility. San Antonio taxpayers are on the hook for the city’s Alamodome and the NBA Spurs arena. Elmore will move its short season Class A Pioneer League franchise in Helena, Montana to Colorado Springs. Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson has come up with a reason for spending on a ballpark. “This gives us something to be unified behind and something to have fun doing together.” Amarillo will be getting a hotel, retail space and a parking garage to go with its stadium. Midsized cities are spending millions for a seasonal business that produces little revenue.
Wichita’s new stadium will also host a college baseball tournamnet.