Eastern League baseball could come to Ottawa as soon as 2013 if a lease can be worked out -- and $3.9 million in improvements made -- for Ottawa Stadium.
Beacon Sports Capital Partners recently asked Ottawa city officials about a ballpark lease for a Minor League Baseball team. Though city officials won't identify the team or the league, we're told there have been serious negotiations to buy the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League) and move the team to Ottawa as soon as 2013, should a new lease be arranged.
The city has already hired International Facilities Group to assess the condition of Ottawa Stadium, the former home of the Ottawa Lynx (Class AAA; International League) and more recently home to independent-league and semi-pro teams. IFG determined different levels of ballpark upgrades needed to meet MiLB standards, as well as other investments that might be financially beneficial for a team (like a new scoreboard). The ballpark will need $3.9 million in maintenance and improvement for whoever lands a lease; an additional $1.4-$2.5 million will be needed to meet MiLB standards.
City staff is proposing a bid system to determine interest in the ballpark and how much potential lessees are willing to pay. The Ottawa Fat Cats, a local semi-pro team, pays $108,000 per season and holds a lease through May 2012, which will likely be extended through the entire season.
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