It's official: Baseball returns to Victoria's Royal Athletic Park in 2013, as the summer-collegiate West Coast League signs a three-year lease for the historic facility.
We reported on negotiations for this move last fall. John McLean and Dwight Willet will own the team after coming to a lease agreement. Pro ball was played at Royal Athletic Park in 2009-2010 as part of the independent Golden Baseball League, when the Parker family (who have a reputation as top-notch hockey operators; they were also the former owners of the PCL's Calgary Cannons) owned and operated the Victoria Seals. Before that the Canadian Baseball League's Victoria Capitals played half a season there in 2003. Basebll has been played at the Royal Athletic Park site since 1925.
And it sounds like some of the issues faced by the Parkers will be present for the new owners. Most annoyingly, the Seals had to strike the outfield-fence signs after every home series because the facility is shared with youth and amateur baseball and soccer teams: the configuration of the facility is geared more for soccer than for baseball. The city negotiated a lease where concessions revenue would be shared, but it sounds like the new owners will also be augmenting these city concessions with outside vendors.
Next up will be a name-the-team contest; look for historic names like the Victoria Islanders and the Victoria Royals to be on the list.
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