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Fredericksburg ballpark could turn profit for city: study

Hagerstown SunsA new ballpark in Fredericksburg, Va., for the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) could run a surplus of $274,000 annually under the right conditions, according to a study from Brailsford & Dunlavey.

The Suns are discussing a 30-year lease for a new ballpark, paying $3 million for the land acquisition and committing to a yearly payment of $105,000, along with some other profit-sharing provisions (naming rights, etc.). Fredericksburg would issue $30 million in bonds for the new ballpark; two sites near Celebrate Virginia are under consideration.

You can read part of the report here, but the essence of it is that after paying ballpark expenses (save the original bonds; these would be backed and serviced with a local sales tax) there would be a profit for the city. From

B&D projects total stadium revenues to the city of $672,000 annually. That includes $100,000 for the city’s 50 percent share of the naming-rights revenue, $105,000 in lease payments from the Suns, $35,000 in profit-sharing between the city and team, and $432,000 in direct tax receipts.

The report also anticipates that the city will have $398,000 in annual expenses from the stadium: $265,000 to provide police and EMS protection during Suns games, $50,000 in maintenance, $50,000 in capital improvements and $33,000 in insurance.

That leaves a $274,000 surplus that the city could put toward debt service on the stadium or use elsewhere.

Of course, projections are nothing more than informed guesses, and it’s rare that a ballpark project actually turns much of a profit for a city; usual city officials are quite happy if the project breaks even. Still, with these numbers from Brailsford & Dunlavey, it would be hard for Fredericksburg officials to turn down a ballpark project. Work on the ballpark financing will take place this summer, with October the time a final decision would be made. A new ballpark could open for the 2015 season — right after the Suns’ lease at Municipal Stadium ends.

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