Citing high rent payments and operations losses, the Lancaster Barnstormers (independent; Atlantic League) are seeking assistance from Lancaster County on their lease.
According to the Barnstormers’ own estimates, the team is losing more than $1 million person, making the annual $1.1 million rent payment on Clipper Magazine Stadium, which is owned by the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority, a tall task. With the team’s owners stating that $3.5 million has come out of their pockets to keep the operation afloat over the past three seasons, Lancaster Baseball LLC is proposing a modification to the ballpark’s lease that involves an annual financial contribution from the county.
The county would chip in $650,000 of relief annually over the next nine years. In turn, the Barnstormers would exercise two exercise two options that would extend the lease through 2034. Once the options take effect, the Barnstormers would begin repaying the county $450,000 annually and then contribute a lump sum payment of $2 million at the agreement’s conclusion.
Ian Ruzow of Lancaster Baseball LLC says that such an agreement would be more workable going forward. More from Lancaster Online:
Ruzow called the rent “way out of line” when compared to rents paid by the seven other teams in the Barnstormers’ league, the independent Atlantic League.
Those rents range from $1 a year paid by the team in Waldorf, Maryland, to $750,000 a year paid by the team on Long Island, New York — which draws fans from a market that’s triple the size of Lancaster, he said.
Ruzow said that even with the rent relief it’s seeking, the team would continue to operate at a loss.
But the red ink, he said, would be at “tolerable levels” for the partners — about $700,000 a year.
Asked what the partners would do if the county says no, Ruzow replied, “We’re looking for a positive outcome. Beyond that, I can’t really say.”
Upon hearing the proposal, the county did not make an official decision, and cautioned that the $650,000 annual relief might not be conducive to the current budget.