We end 2015 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #7: How the Loudoun Hounds raised millions of dollars for a new ballpark, only to end up in court.
Loudoun County, Virginia, is a unicorn in the baseball world: a place where there are hundreds of thousands of potential customers with high incomes and no local baseball. The Washington Nationals draw heavily from the area, but both affiliated and independent groups see the potential for a local team.
Which is why VIP Sports and Entertainment has worked for years to bring independent Atlantic League baseball and NASL soccer to Loudoun County, first to the Kincora Village development and ending up at One Loudoun. VIP proved to be adept at selling the merits of indy ball in Loudoun County and their ability to deliver a new ballpark. Naming rights to the ballpark were sold to Edelman Financial for $10 million. Sixty-one investors ponied up $7 million to finance the operation. Another $3.25 million was borrowed from a local bank.
So what happened? The money reportedly ran out before construction could begin, and the relationship between VIP Sports and One Loudoun soured before ending up in court, with VIP claiming One Loudoun owners wanting the baseball project for themselves and One Loudoun saying VIP didn’t end up fulfilling the terms of their deal.
The court case hasn’t really taken off: CEO Bob Farren has begged off depositions because of treatment of neck and throat cancer. But in later court filings, One Loudoun lawyers say Farren’s health is better than advertised — he was photographed at a Washington Capitals hockey game — and they claim his group is now talking new ballpark at Kincora Village again. So this story will certainly play out more in the coming year.
RELATED STORIES: Hounds, One Loudoun court battle begins; More on the Hounds and the future Loudoun County baseball; One Loudoun breaks with baseball, soccer teams; Hounds seek new bonds for ballpark construction; New Hounds ballpark approved; Local residents: Loudoun Hounds, stay off our lawns!; Loudoun Hounds: We have deal for 2014 ballpark; Pro soccer could revive Loudoun Hounds ballpark plan; New Loudoun ballpark delayed; New for 2012: Loudoun Hounds