Not that they were going anywhere, but the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) extended their Durham Bulls Athletic Park lease through 2033, with two five-year options as well.
The lease was not set to expire until 2015, but by coming to a lease agreement it allows the city and the Bulls to address one big issue: Durham has been using general funds to cover a $200,000 annual gap between the operating cost and the revenue from the existing ballpark lease. This eliminates the use of general funds to cover ballpark operations. Under the new deal, the Bulls will assume more operational costs, including maintenance/repair costs and utility bills. In return, the city of Durham will invest more in capital improvements over the lease’s lifetime, as well as address deferred maintenance. From the News-Observer:
[T]he most significant upfits will be better lighting and seating, an expanded right-field picnic area and a new food court that you can get to without losing sight of the game.
The new concessions will go above the right-field seats, extending from the existing canopy to the end of the grandstand. Currently, all concessions are on a concourse behind the stands with no view of the field.
Other improvements include a terrace-seating area behind center field, low-water toilets, an improved sound system, LED video signs and a banquet area big enough for several hundred people.
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