The Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) could end up staying in Prince William County after all, as team owner Art Silber is scouting potential ballpark locations and evaluating the economics of private financing.
The demographics in Prince William County are tremendous, and the team did well at the box office this season despite playing in an outdated ballpark. So no wonder Silbert is seeking alternatives to a move elsewhere in the D.C. area or a sale to an out-of-town group. The search is complicated by the high price of land in the area as well as the need to arrange a parking option for a new ballpark. From InsideNoVa:
Crucially, Silber says this new deal would not involve the county issuing any bonds to finance the stadium construction, a feature of the old arrangement that attracted opposition from half of the county supervisors. Instead, he says, the stadium would be entirely “privately financed.”
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to be able to move ahead successfully on this,” Silber said. “Right now, the opportunities we’re looking at potentially involve commitments on the part of businesses in the area and some other major entities to fund marketing agreements with us to show a substantial amount of cash flow coming in. That could make the deal possible to fund with a commercial bank.”
Silber certainly would have preferred to use the framework of the old deal, where the county would issue Industrial Development Authority bonds to pay for the stadium, as the interest rates would be “so much lower” than the team will pay to any bank. But with Silber eyeing either a move elsewhere in Northern Virginia or a sale of the team entirely, he said he is willing to make some sacrifices to keep the P-Nats in the county they have called home for more than three decades.
If Silber ends up moving the team out of Prince William County or selling to an out-of-town group, baseball could still be on the agenda at Pfitzner Stadium, as independent leagues could set up shop there. But if the team is to stay, there’s no way the P-Nats allows an independent team to play out of Pfitzner Stadium.
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