The New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) are negotiating a lease on a new ballpark in nearby Hartford, according to a newspaper report.
The Courant is reporting the team has been negotiating with the city for a new ballpark for over a year, with an opening potentially in 2016. Team ownership has also been talking with Springfield, Mass. officials about a new ballpark in that city as well, but the current plan calls for a Hartford move. From the Courant:
City officials who requested anonymity said Monday there is a proposal to build a stadium at Main and Trumbull streets — an area known as “12B” just north of downtown. The team would begin playing there in the 2016 season….
Two city officials said Monday that a tentative deal has been reached for the team to relocate to Hartford, but that a finalized agreement has not been signed. The deal is also subject to city council approval.
People with knowledge of the situation said Hartford could contribute millions to the effort.
We’re not talking about a huge move here: Hartford is about 12 miles from New Britain. That the team is looking around is always a rumor: with larger cities like Hartford and Springfield looking for pro baseball in recent years (Springfield, in particular, has been the white whale for more than one ownership group, including Mandalay Baseball Properties). The team’s lease at New Britain Stadium ends after the 2015 season.
The team is a solid, though unspectacular draw in the Eastern League, ranking sixth in that circuit in 2013 with 4,653 fans per game, for a total of 307,097.
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