Ottawa officials wanting a bidding war for an Ottawa Stadium lease are probably disappointed that only one bid, from Mandalay Baseball Properties, has been submitted.
A source close to the negotiations says Mandalay Sports Entertainment and Professional Sports Catering have the Minor League Baseball-sanctioned bid to put a team in the currently vacant Conventry Road stadium.
The deal keys on how much money Rogers Communications is prepared to ante up to cover costs of stadium renovation and other related building activities at the site. The source did not know how those negotiations were going.
Of course, the smart folks in Ottawa knew there would never be a bidding war. For starters: MiLB doesn’t allow teams to approach markets anymore with multiple bids: the feeding frenzy in Greenville some years ago caused changes in how open markets are allocated. Second, even though the economics of the deal shifted to force the city and corporate partners like Rogers to put up more money, putting a team in Ottawa will still require significant resources — the kind of resources you normally don’t find in more modest independent leagues like the Can-Am League, which put two teams in Ottawa Stadium after the move of the Ottawa Lynx (Class AAA; International League).
The deal does call for some ballpark investment by Mandalay and Professional Sports Catering (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.
mage of Ottawa Stadium via flickr.com.
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