The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League) will be paying more for a new ballpark that meets Class AA standards, as the $13 million ballpark will be ready for a March opening.
Quint and Rishy Studer had an agreement for a new waterfront ballpark as owners of the Pensacola Pelicans (independent; American Association), but after buying the Carolina Mudcats (Class AA; Southern League) in anticipation of a 2012 move, upgrades to the ballpark were required to meet affiliated standards. The budget for the project didn’t change — the entirety of Maritime Park, a new waterfront complex in Pensacola, is $54 million, with $13 million earmarked toward the ballpark — but the economics did, as did the ballpark size (from 4,000 seats to 5,225).
The Studers and Community Maritime Park Associates came to a new agreement this past week. Basically, the team will end up covering the costs of the ballpark in a variety of ways via a 20-year lease (one ten-year term, two five-year options, which is amazingly liberal): $175,000 annually in rent, a split of naming-rights revenues, all parking revenue to the city, a ticket surcharge, an attendance fee based on attendance goals and a guaranteed $1.25 million from team profits. in addition, the Studers contributed $2 million in February to help pay for affiliated-oriented upgrades.
The ballpark is expected to be completed by Jan. 31 with the team taking control March 1, giving the team plenty of time for a practice game or two before an April season opener.
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