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Atlantic League to expand to Sugar Land

A western expansion of the East Coast indy circuit will take place in the suburbs of Houston, as the city of Sugar Land will ratify an agreement with Opening Day Partners tomorrow night.

A western expansion of the East Coast indy circuit will take place in the suburbs of Houston, as the city of Sugar Land will ratify an agreement with Opening Day Partners tomorrow night.

Opening Day Partners already owns and operated three Atlantic League franchises. The new team is expected to begin play in 2012.

Here's the press release from the city of Sugar Land:

Sugar Land, TX – Sugar Land City Council will consider a formal agreement with Opening Day Partners, LLC on Tuesday, May 18 to bring a minor league baseball team to Sugar Land.

As part of the public-private partnership, ODP will develop and operate a professional minor league baseball stadium in Sugar Land.

ODP Chairman Peter Kirk and Partner Brooks Robinson, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and a member of MLB’s All Century Team who won 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards from1960-1975, are expected to travel to Sugar Land for the historic agreement. City Council is scheduled to take action during its regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

The agreement outlines a process expected to result in Sugar Land’s new baseball team taking the field in April 2012. Sugar Land’s new team will play in the Atlantic League, independent baseball’s highest level. The Atlantic League plays a full season of 140 games, with most players having MLB or Triple-A experience. Sugar Land will be the first club of a planned western division of the Atlantic League.

A “name-the-team” contest will be announced soon with the winner to be awarded lifetime season tickets, according to Jon Danos, ODP’s president.

The City is assessing ideal sites for the stadium, locations providing the greatest benefit for the community. One site that continues to be explored is at U.S. Highway 59 and University Boulevard where the City leases land from the University of Houston System at Sugar Land.

“As the project is anticipated to spur significant economic activity and potential ancillary development, we are studying locations within the community where a stadium might provide an economic stimulus for other development projects,” said City Manager Allen Bogard.

Sugar Land’s pursuit of a public-private partnership for the development and operation of a year-round ballpark is anticipated to result in a “family friendly” multi-use design that will provide the potential to support college and high school baseball tournaments, concerts and other dynamic uses.

“We are honored to have been selected to be a partner in Sugar Land’s entry into professional baseball,” said Robinson.

“We plan to open an office in Sugar Land soon and will begin becoming a part of this great community,” added Kirk.

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