The lease won’t change much from previous years, but ownership of The Diamond is: the city is set to take it over from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority at the end of the year. The rent remains at $162,500 per season, which is the same the Flying Squirrels paid to the RMA.
Efforts to bring a new ballpark to downtown Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom have stalled; an impasse between Mayor Dwight Jones and the City Council over a funding plan has left the Flying Squirrels in limbo. And while that limbo will extend through 2016, it could possibly run longer: the new lease also has three one-year options, extending through 2019.
The Flying Squirrels led the Eastern League in attendance again in 2014, and that success may be working against the team: while it’s pretty clear there are plenty of issues with The Diamond, it’s not in bad enough shape to warrant an immediate replacement. Hence the limbo, but owner Lou DiBella says they’ll forge on with some smaller improvements for the next two years:
Lou DiBella, the president and managing general partner of the Squirrels, characterized it as “basically the same terms.” He said the lease proposal is “really no surprise since there’s no place else to go.”
“I’ve known for a while that we would be at The Diamond for the foreseeable future, and we’re going to continue to have fun at The Diamond,” DiBella said. “We’re going to be there for a couple more years; we will be doing some upgrades. We’ll talk more about that in the future.”
The team said last month that it was looking into a variety of potential upgrades to the stadium, including “improved seating, additional group space, enhanced concessions and, in general, better flow through the concourse.”
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