Citing the need to continue planning teams and ballparks, the Southwest League is pushing its debut back to 2019. The independent circuit was previously scheduled to begin play in 2018.
Conceived by Mark Schuster and the Ventura Sports Group, the Southwest League was slated to launch next year with at least six teams, all of which would be based in Texas. Branding for two clubs–the Waco BlueCats and Royse City Griffins–has already been unveiled, though the league is still working on adding other teams to its mixs.
The need to finalize the league’s remaining teams has been cited by Schuster as a reason for delaying the Southwest League’s start, as the circuit believes that waiting until 2019 will be helpful in addressing these areas. Meanwhile, some officials in Beallmead–where a new ballpark is being discussed for the BlueCats–are still eager to for the league. More from The Waco Herald-Tribune:
As of this week, only two franchises in the SWL have been announced – the Waco BlueCats, which plan to play in an area off Loop 340 in Bellmead, and the Royse City Griffins. Schuster said that the league intends to open with at least six teams and possibly as many as eight, but he added that the process of forming partnerships with other Texas cities hasn’t progressed as quickly as he’d hoped.
“By pushing to 2019, we can assure ourselves a six-team league,” Schuster said. “We know who those cities are — we’ve known for three months. But they’re all in wide, varying stages of development, and we didn’t want to force things and end up disappointed.”
Despite lingering skepticism that the project may not take off, many in Bellmead still remain excited, City Manager Bo Thomas said.
“It’s like a lot of other things, same difference with the city of Hewitt when they were working with Walmart Supercenter. Once that announcement was made everyone was all, ‘Where is it?’ ” Thomas said. “There’s a lot of that. Then there’s a lot of, ‘I bet it doesn’t happen’ or whatever. But really and truly, it’s going through the process it has to go through to get to the end.”
The plans in both Beallmead and Royse City call for new $12 million ballparks that would seat 4,000 and be designed to host other events.
RELATED STORIES: Royse City Griffins Branding Unveiled; Bellmead Continues Ballpark Talks; New for 2018: Waco BlueCats; New Royse City Ballpark Pitched as Centerpiece of Larger Development; Royse City Approves Ballpark-Related Spending; Southwest League Coming to Royse City