Summer collegiate action is coming to Luther Williams Field, as plans are in place for a Coastal Plain League (CPL) franchise starting in 2018.
On Tuesday, the Macon-Bibb County Commission approved a series of agreements that allow the process to move forward. The current plan calls for the franchise–which will be the CPL’s 16th–to begin play at the ballpark for the 2018 season. In the meantime, Luther Williams Field would receive upgrades through $2.5 million in SPLOST revenue.
The CPL announced its expansion to Macon on Wednesday. The new Macon franchise will be owned and operated by Jon Spoelstra and Steve DeLay.
“We’re excited to announce Macon as the newest expansion franchise in the Coastal Plain League,” said CPL COO and Commissioner Justin Sellers. “Macon-Bibb has a storied history rich in baseball and we look forward to creating the newest chapter with a CPL team. We are thrilled to have Jon and Steve as owners in the CPL, and know that their vast experience will ensure the success of this franchise for years to come.”
Spoelstra and DeLay have a combined 60 years of experience operating professional teams at all levels. Spoelstra was VP/General Manager of the Portland Trail Blazers for 13 years and President of the New Jersey Nets. He was also Managing Director of Mandalay Baseball Properties, overseeing the operation of seven minor league baseball teams including the Dayton Dragons, Frisco RoughRiders, Staten Island Yankees and Oklahoma City Redhawks.
DeLay first linked up with Spoelstra at the New Jersey Nets and was also head of ticket sales for the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. DeLay and Spoelstra worked together again at Mandalay Baseball Properties where DeLay was Chief Marketing Officer. They are also limited partners of the Coastal Plain League’s Savannah Bananas.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the Coastal Plain League and bring fun, family oriented entertainment to the city of Macon and Historic Luther Williams Field,” said DeLay. “We’re looking forward to getting the community involved.”
Luther Williams last played host to a minor league team in 2002 and has since been home to multiple independent ball teams, as well as the site of several films such as Trouble With the Curve and 42.
“Baseball is coming back to Macon-Bibb in a big way, and we couldn’t be more delighted to be the next team in the Coastal Plain League,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert. “Our community has shown a resurgence in support for baseball at all levels, and Macon-Bibb County is doing what it can to support that, from improving and upgrading existing facilities to working with local partners to build new facilities, and, of course, making significant upgrades at our Historic Luther Williams Field.”
The organization will hold a launch party in Macon later this summer to reveal more information about the team and stadium.