A deal to bring pro baseball back to Ottawa is close at hand, with Mandalay Baseball Properties poised to own a Class AA Eastern League team and Rogers Communications buying naming rights to Ottawa Stadium.
The deal, which was first reported by Ken Grey and confirmed with MiLB team owners, calls for Mandalay to buy an existing Class AA Eastern League team and relocating the franchise to Ottawa, while at the same time selling the Erie SeaWolves to another current MiLB team owner. (The SeaWolves are not part of the Ottawa transaction but being sold to satisfy the league’s prohibition against multiple team ownership.) Professional Sports Catering will manage the concessions, and Rogers is negotiating to buy naming rights to the ballpark. Rogers also owns the Toronto Blue Jays, but affiliation with the new Ottawa team is not part of the current deal, and the Blue Jays proper are not directly part of the deal yet, either, we are told.
The deal does call for some ballpark investment by Mandalay and PSC (we’ve been told it’s a routine concessions investment for PSC; the firm normally upgrades ballpark concessions after signing a deal with a new team), but not nearly approaching the levels originally pitched by city officials to Beacon Sports Capital Partners, the company brokering the deal. As originally negotiated, a minor-league operator would have been in for over $21 million by the time a franchise purchase was included. That number is now closer to $15 million, including a franchise purchase, with the city committing to between $10 million and $30 million in ballpark improvements.
We’ve been told the deal could close within 60 days, but attach the usual disclaimers: things could fall apart, etc.
Image of Ottawa Stadium via flickr.com.
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