The Edmonton Prospects (summer collegiate; Western Major Baseball League) have been given permission by the Edmonton City Council to seek a new naming rights partner for Telus Field. This move gives the Prospects more control over the ballpark, which is now assured of staying in use for the near future.
The future of Telus Field, which first opened to host the Edmonton Trappers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) back in 1995, had recently been in flux. Last July, reports indicated that officials were seriously considering a demolition of the ballpark, which had lacked a steady, professional-level tenant since the Trappers were purchased by Ryan-Sanders Baseball and moved to Round Rock before the 2005 season. Oilers Entertainment Group held the lease on the ballpark and had been working with the city to attract a new tenant, but it seemed that location and travel concerns would prevent another league from setting up shop in Edmonton.
With this deal, the future of Telus Field is assured for now. The Prospects will now enter an agreement with the city to operate the ballpark, and will immediately begin seeking a new naming rights partner. From CTV News Edmonton:
Councillors voted in favour of the City entering into a four year licence agreement with the Edmonton Prospects, allowing the college level team to operate and play out of the ballpark.
In addition, Councillors agreed to allow the Prospects to look for a new naming sponsor, to contribute funds to support operating costs, and potentially make some changes to the facility.
“It’s a shorter agreement so how much capital that wants to go into something will have to align with the length of commitment that is in there, which is only up to five years,” Brad Badger with Community Recreation Facilities said.
“They do have some ideas around a more family atmosphere, do somethings on the left and right field lines, taking out possibly some smaller bleacher areas and replacing them with picnic areas and things, to give it a more community feel.”
Officials said some companies have expressed interest, but no deal has been made.
If a new name, which would require council approval, can be found, it would taking care of a long-standing issue. Telus, a telecommunications company, has not been under contract since its naming rights agreement with the ballpark lapsed back in 2009.