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Frederick eyes ballpark signage to raise funds

Frederick KeysTo lessen the city subsidy for Harry Grove Stadium, Frederick officials are looking at selling signage outside the home of the Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League).

The issue: the city pays $42,000 to subsidize operations at the ballpark, and finding a way to cut that amount has been a goal of city officials for months. A proposal to sell naming rights to the ballpark was shot down, but a consultant came up with a plan to install more signage around the ballpark — which is well-situated near busy highways and freeways — that would erase the annual subsidy and put money into city coffers. (Per the lease, it would provide revenue to the Keys ownership as well.)

The concern: with 35 different proposed signage options, there’s the danger the ballpark exterior could end up looking, well, a tad cluttered. That, combined with the need to prepare language limiting signage to the ballpark and not other city parks, is causing a delay in discussion. From the Frederick News-Post:

The issue first came up at a July 15 planning commission meeting and then resurfaced last week when city officials discussed changing the city code to allow for signage on the outside of Harry Grove Stadium to raise money to help cover the annual $42,000 cost of operating the stadium. Signage outside the stadium is currently banned although advertising is allowed inside the ballpark.

City officials recently decided against selling overall naming rights of the stadium, which could have commanded a commercial partnership of at least $150,000 per year.

Instead, a consultant recommended 35 different promotional ideas to generate up to $251,000 annually with $87,000 going to the city and $164,000 going to the Frederick Keys, as reported in a story this week by News-Post reporter Jen Bondeson. Those proposals included selling the back of the scoreboards facing Interstate 70, changing the name from Stadium Drive, product exclusivity, signage at the main entrance into the stadium, dugout tops, fireworks sponsors, stadium logos, and renting the stadium for various uses, among other things.

RELATED STORIES: Naming rights under debate in Frederick; Controversy dogs Keys lease negotiations to the end; Keys, Frederick on verge of 10-year Harry Grove Stadium lease; Keys lease raising debate in Frederick; Frederick reopens ballpark lease negotiations; Keys, Frederick have draft lease; aldermen want more information; Frederick committee recommends Keys retain ballpark lease; Two bids submitted for Frederick lease; Keys: We want to stay in Frederick; Frederick: Affiliated team to have advantage in ballpark bidding; Frederick to put ballpark lease to bid; Keys on market; Ballpark Visit: Harry Grove Stadium / Frederick Keys


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