With hopes that a $10-million renovation of the ballpark is on the way, the New Orleans Zephyrs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have signed a five-year extension for Zephyr Stadium through 2020, with SMG assuming daily maintenance of the ballpark.
The lease, signed by the Zephyrs and the state today at a meeting of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED), is effective immediately and runs for five years, with an option to extend for another five years thereafter. The previous lease, signed in October 2009, was set to expire following the 2016 season.
“The Zephyrs are hopeful that the new lease and security of the team’s future will be a catalyst for bringing a $10-million stadium renovation plan to the forefront in the coming years,” Zephyrs General Manager Mike Schline said.
Terms of the lease include SMG assuming daily maintenance of Zephyr Field, as they do for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center and the Jefferson Performing Arts Center.
“We believe SMG’s resources will improve the overall appearance and operation of the facility, which is entering its 20th season this April,” Schline said. “SMG’s operation of Zephyr Field will also relieve the team of several financial obligations.”
“This agreement ensures the team will continue playing baseball in New Orleans for the foreseeable future, something we are very pleased to be able to present to our fans,” Zephyrs Vice President Walter Leger said.
The extension comes at a time when a sale of the team is said to well underway to a former International League owner.
Image by Parker Waters, courtesy New Orleans Zephyrs.