Avoiding a potential conflict between Ripken Design and Mandalay Baseball Properties, the Wilmington (N.C.) City Council went with a second choice as ballpark project manager.
Initially city officials had chosen Ripken Design, part of Ripken Baseball, as the city’s project manager on a proposed waterfront ballpark in downtown Wilmington to be managed by Mandalay and inhabited by an Atlanta Braves farm team. That didn’t sit well with either Mandalay or Atlanta, who objected to sharing proprietary information with Ripken Design; as part of Ripken Baseball, it is part of a larger firm that does compete with Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves — which currently owns and operates four minor-league teams. It’s really not so much any competition with any current teams, but rather future competition for new markets, as Mandalay Baseball is always on the lookout for new territories and could conceivably end up going for the same area. In that case, Ripken Baseball might have an advantage in knowing some of Mandalay’s business strategies.
Councilmembers heeded the objections and handed the $55,000 contract to the city’s second choice, National Sports Services.
The city is negotiating with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Braves for a new waterfront ballpark, with Mandalay managing the facility and Braves relocating the Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League). If financing for the $40-million project can be arranged, a new ballpark could open for the 2014 season.
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