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Knights, York County reach agreement on ballpark lease extension

The Charlotte Knights and York County came to an agreement for a four-year Knights Stadium lease extension; the biggest issue was the amount of a buyout should the team move.

The Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) and York County today agreed in principal upon a four-year lease for the team to play at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill. The Knights just concluded their 20th season of playing baseball in Fort Mill.

The county and the Knights had a disagreement over the amount of money to be paid if the team broke the lease early. The Knights had offered $225,000 per year left on the lease, while the county wanted $265,000.

“We are pleased to be able to continue our relationship with York County,” said Knights Vice-President/General Manager Dan Rajkowski. “Our goal has been to provide the citizens of York County and the region a great form of family entertainment at an affordable price. Our organization is committed to growing the Knights at Knights Stadium and look forward to success both on and off the field.”

“We are pleased and excited that we were able to agree on a multi-year lease that can work for both the Knights and the community,” said Buddy Motz, Chairman of the York County Council. “Now we can all look forward to next season and some new features at the Stadium.”

The new four-year lease will have the Knights committing parking revenues up to $150,000 annually towards capital improvements to the facility. York County will also commit their share of parking revenues to the capital improvements as well.

The team drew 320,427 fans in 2009 — their 5th straight year of increased attendance at the facility. Since their first season at Knights Stadium in 1990, the Knights have drawn 6,481,433 fans.

The deal does not meant the Knights are not still working toward a new Uptown ballpark. However, the terms of the land lease with Mecklenberg County requires that a new ballpark be in place by the 2011 season — and that probably means construction needs to start next spring.

RELATED STORIES: New Knights ballpark: on or off?; Knights ballpark on hold; January key to Knights' future in Charlotte 

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