The City of Petersburg has moved toward selling the Petersburg Generals (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League), which may allow the franchise to relocate to Macon.
In January, Petersburg’s acting city manager agreed to sell the rights to the franchise to SRO Partners. The city council was set to weigh in on the proposed $100,000 sale on Tuesday, which comes as Petersburg deals with budget issues.
Reports indicate that SRO Partners could relocate the defunct franchise to Macon, GA. As was noted here last week, the Coastal Plain League has discussed the possibility of placing a team at Luther Williams Field, the historical ballpark that was once home to the Macon Braves (Low A; Sally League) and several other affiliated clubs. While it was not definitive at the time whether the league would look to move an existing franchise or add Macon via expansion, the transaction concerning the Generals could open the door for Macon to join the circuit. More from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The Petersburg City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to ratify the contract with SRO Partners LLC on Tuesday night. Steven DeLay, a Nevada-based sports marketing professional who signed the contract, did not return interview requests Tuesday.
The team drew scrutiny this year from local officials who were charged with cutting $12 million from the current fiscal year’s budget after it began.
“I will miss the Generals,” said Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham, “but this is just one of those hard decisions we had to make.”
Petersburg began the fiscal year July 1 about $19 million in arrears, millions of which have since been paid down with money from the current year’s budget.
Meanwhile, Macon-Bibb County officials said that they were unaware that the Generals were in play. However, it was acknowledged that SRO Partners has been engaged in discussions about placing a team at Luther Williams Field. More from The Telegraph:
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert refereed questions about a relocation to the league’s commissioner. He said he first learned about the Generals’ sale when contacted by a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Tuesday.
“That was first, I promise you, that’s the first I knew of anything about this,” Reichert said at Tuesday’s pre-commission meeting.
SRO Partners is a firm associated with one of the league’s Savannah Banana’s owner Steven DeLay. Last week, Reichert informed commissioners there was some interest from DeLay in having a franchise come to Macon.
DeLay is expected to make a presentation to the commission later this month.
Per the attendance totals we posted at the end of the 2016 season, the Generals averaged 304 fans per-game, which ranked last in the Coastal Plain League. Overall, the team drew 7,292 fans. The Generals played their first season at the Petersburg Sports Complex in 2000.