By a wide margin, the Ottawa City Council approved a lease with the independent Can-Am League to place a team in Ottawa Stadium for the 2015 season and beyond.
After issuing requests for proposals for an Ottawa Stadium lease, two serious contenders emerged: an affiliated bid from Mandalay Baseball Properties with a Class AA Eastern League team and an independent bid from the Can-Am League. Though there was initial enthusiasm for bringing affiliated ball back to the city (the Ottawa Lynx represented the Class AAA International League), in the end money talked: instead of going for an affiliated package what city staff claimed to be $40 million (we have our doubts about this being accurate), the city went with the Can-Am bid that required far less cash upfront and gives the city an out after 10 years. We examined the ins and outs of the bid the other day. Still, it's a big win for the Can-Am League, which has failed twice to sustain a team in Ottawa Stadium.
The Can-Am bid means the city pays $400,000 in annual operating expenses for the stadium, plus $750,000 in upgrades up front. The lease would last at least 10 years, but the city has received a letter of credit from Can-Am covering only one year of rent.
Can-Am commissioner Miles Wolff, who attended the council meeting, said he’s optimistic about the future of baseball in Ottawa, despite past failures.
Wolff said he anticipates the league will grow even more, with teams eyed for Montreal and Pennsylvania.
We're not so sure we'll see an indy team in Montreal any time soon: with the city business leaders focused on a return of MLB, it's hard to see the city or any surrounding municipalities spending any money on a new ballpark for an independent league.
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