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Eastern League to Ottawa in 2014, says city

Eastern LeagueBeacon Sports has brokered a deal to bring a Class AA Eastern League team to Ottawa Stadium for the 2014 season, according to a release sent out by the city.

The release:

Today, Mayor Jim Watson announced that the City of Ottawa has reached an agreement in principle with Beacon Sports Capital Partners for a lease and renovation plan for the Ottawa Stadium. The new lease would take effect on January 1, 2013.

Further, the City has been informed that Beacon Sports Capital Partners has reached an agreement in principle with the Eastern League to bring a double A team to Ottawa for the 2014 season.

“The City of Ottawa has cleared an important hurdle on our way to bringing professional baseball back to Ottawa,” said Mayor Watson. “If the plan moves forward, it will allow the City to preserve an important purpose-built city asset, the Ottawa Stadium, while providing an exciting family entertainment option for the residents of Ottawa.”

Mayor Watson thanked City of Ottawa staff, Beacon Sports Capital Partners and Eastern League president Joe McEacharn for their hard work to reach this important milestone. The Mayor also extended his thanks to David Gourlay and the Champions for Ottawa Baseball for helping build the needed momentum in the community.

The City remains optimistic that all parties involved in these discussions will come to a final agreement in the near future.

It is expected that Mayor Watson will bring the proposed lease and renovation plan to the Finance and Economic Development Committee for consideration in October.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal. The city must approve the proposed lease — and we hear it calls for slightly more spending by the city and less from a new team, changes that needed to be made to attract affiliated ownership — and so does Minor League Baseball. Many in Minor League Baseball had given up on the Ottawa efforts; nice job by the city and Beacon Sports to keep discussions going. We were correct that the terms previously floated by the city would fail to attract a MiLB team; the new terms, we are told, are better.

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