Peter O’Malley says that the business focus for the former Dodgertown complex in Vero Beach will remain on youth tournaments and visiting teams, not professional baseball.
O’Malley invested in Vero Beach Sports Village (VBSV), formerly known as Dodgertown. O’Malley will be one of five equal partners in VBSV management: MiLB will retain a share, while the other three shares come from O’Malley’s sister, Terry Seidler, and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo. O’Malley will be chairman and CEO, MiLB President Pat O’Conner President and COO, and Craig Callan will continue in his current role in the operation of VBSV. Callan has worked for 33 years at the historic facility.
In an interview with TCPalm.com, O’Malley quickly shot down the notion that MLB spring training or MiLB baseball would be returning to Vero Beach any time soon, saying that the economics of modern baseball makes training at a small, remote facility unfeasible:
As far as another team coming, I think it’s tough. I think teams today are going to larger population centers, where spring training — which used to be an expense — now is a profit center. If you look at the Dodgers in Arizona, and the complex that the taxpayers paid for and the attendance and everything else, it’s a profit center. And unfortunately, Vero Beach is a small community and I just don’t think it hits the economic profile for a major league team today. So I don’t want anybody to get their hopes up that another team’s coming back.
Instead, O’Malley says the game plan will remain pretty much as mapped out by Minor League Baseball: use the facility as a training and tournament facility:
The goal is to bring in teams from around the world — and umpires and trainers or sports medicine doctors — bring in a range of activity to keep the occupancy high. And also help the motels when teams come in and families of the participants stay off base. It’s not going to be a money maker. I don’t expect that. That’s not where I’m headed. I just want it to break even and continue to survive and flourish and be healthy and be an asset for the community.
RELATED STORIES: Peter O’Malley back in baseball — in Vero Beach; O’Malley: I want to bring the Dodgers home; Minor League Baseball bailing on Vero Beach lease; MILB: Heaviest use of Vero Beach baseball facilities since 1940s
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