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Flying Squirrels lease: $1.7M annually; naming rights could lower than number

Proposed Richmond Flying Squirrels ballpark

A proposed Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League) new-ballpark lease payment of $1.7 million could be lowered with the sale of naming rights.

The Richmond Economic Development Authority is taking the lead on the development of a new Shockoe Bottom ballpark, and the lease would be between the EDA and the Squirrels. The Squirrels would not manage the venue; instead, the proposed ballpark plan calls for a “qualified service provider” to manage the facility. This could be let out to bid.

Not all the details of a proposed ballpark have been released, but next week two city council committees are slated to review the Shockoe Bottom development plan. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

City officials believe the naming rights would sell for more than $600,000, but after factoring in other obligations to a sponsor such as signage, advertising and suites, that would be the net value, according to Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall.

“If we feel like we can make more money from us selling the naming rights, then we would do it. If we feel like at the end of the day that the risk is greater than the possible rewards, we’d have the Squirrels take care of it,” Marshall said in an interview Thursday with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The team’s annual rental rate for the stadium would be $1.7 million over a 30-year term beginning Feb. 1, 2016, according to city documents, but the EDA would keep the opportunity to sell the naming rights itself for more than $600,000 in order to bring its debt costs down.

Virginia Commonwealth University is also expected to play at the new ballpark.

The new ballpark will be part of a Shockoe Bottom development that will include a hotel, 750 apartments, grocery store and slavery memorial.

RELATED STORIES: Squirrels ballpark plan include hotel, apartments, grocery; Richmond quietly positions for new ballpark; Activists: Ballpark not best use for Shockoe Bottom; Poll: Squirrels home should be built next to current ballpark; Richmond: No vote on ballpark location; Flying Squirrels: Fans don’t know what they are missing; Richmond committee: Don’t put ballpark location to vote; Richmond ballpark location may be decided by voters; New Richmond ballpark: on or off?; Shockoe Bottom gaining momentum as Flying Squirrels ballpark site?; Progress made on new Richmond ballpark: McEacharn; MiLB squirrelly about new Richmond ballpark; Flying Squirrels: New ballpark still a priority; Flying Squirrels extend Diamond lease, setting stage for ballpark improvements; Experts: Downtown ballpark could revitalize Richmond; Squirrels: No plans to leave Richmond “at the present time”; Didn’t take long: Opposition rises to Richmond Shockoe Bottom ballpark siteRichmond ballpark discussion shifts back to Shockoe Bottom; Manchester in play as well; Richmond: Yes, we really do intend on building a new ballparkBudget issues postpone Squirrels ballpark to 2015 at the earliestNew Richmond ballpark by 2014?; DiBella: Time to start talking new ballpark; Flying Squirrels throw out first offer on new ballparkBaseball returns to Richmond’s Diamond — but for how long?


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