A new downtown ballpark for the Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A; Sally League) would cost $38.8 million, seat 5,760 fans and potentially generate some $26 million in private development, according to a market-research report presented to the City Council yesterday.
According to research firm Brailsford & Dunlavey, Kannapolis is the #1 Low-A market in the country and could easily support such a project. From the Salisbury Post:
The second phase of the study focused on the programming of a new sports and entertainment venue, the cost of construction and the return on investment for the venue. Jason Thompson, with Brailsford & Dunlavey, said the Kannapolis Intimidators rank among the best of the 30 Class A Minor League markets in the U.S. With the right stadium and marketing, he said, the potential to double attendance exists….
Thompson said a new venue should have a capacity of 5,760 and include suites, club and lodge seating. The sport and entertainment venue could be used for multiple purposes such as concerts, community events and conference and meeting space.
The estimated cost to build the venue would be $38.8 million. Research shows that a minor league stadium in downtown Kannapolis could generate approximately $26 million in adjacent private development such as retail shops, restaurants, office and hotel space and residential units, according to the city. The economic impact of the venue would create 248 jobs and result in approximately $274,243 in local sales, food and hotel tax revenues annually and $926,012 in state sales, food and hotel tax revenues annually.
As we reported last week, a new downtown ballpark currently under consideration could raise attendance from 125,811 people (2013 attendance numbers were used) to 390,564 annually, or 5,744 people per game. That may be really ambitious: no Sally League team averages over 5,200 a game, as the Greensboro Grasshoppers are averaging 5,195 fans a game this season and perennial circuit leader Lakewood BlueClaws are averaging 5,076 fans a game. Reaching 5,744 fans per game is a very ambitious target.
The talk of a new downtown ballpark is fueled two things: the desire for downtown development and the realization that Intimidators Stadium suffers from a lack of available nearby land, meaning that it’s not really possible to be the core of any future development. And with downtown ballparks having a good track record as being part of future development — i.e., Fort Wayne — including a new ballpark as part of a larger downtown development has its appeal.
RELATED STORIES: Study: Intimidators Attendance Would More Than Double in New Ballpark; Downtown Kannapolis Master Plan Calls for New Ballpark; Kannapolis: We’ll Take Year to Map Out New Ballpark Plan; Intimidators Sold to Reese Smith III; Kannapolis acquires 46 downtown acres; new ballpark next?; Kannapolis eyes new downtown Intimidators ballpark