Following a vote by its city council, Martinsville has moved closer to selling the Martinsville Mustangs (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) to National Sports Services.
Martinsville currently owns the Mustangs, with the CPL handling the management of the team at Hooker Field. Discussions about selling the team have unfolded, and the vote at Tuesday’s city council meeting allows that process to move forward. While it does not complete a sale, the unanimous vote by the Martinsville City Council effectively gives city manager Leon Towarnicki permission to work with National Sports Services on a sales agreement.
Further discussions will be needed before a sale is finalized, but the reported terms of the motion allow for negotiations with National Sports Services to move forward. More from The Martinsville Bulletin:
As the meeting was continuing as of press time Tuesday night, a copy of the currently proposed terms and conditions was not immediately available from city officials. However, the agenda addendum packet report states that city officials agree to negotiate with NSS initially for a two-year period. That covers the remaining two years of a contract the city has with the Coastal Plain League (CPL), which manages the Mustangs. If final terms haven’t been reached by the end of that two year period, then council members could vote on an extension.
For a while, Towarnicki said, the city has investigated options to make improvements to Hooker Field, such as covered seating and renovated concessions, restroom and office areas. Under the preliminary sale agreement, if the city takes no action within the next two years to make such improvements, NSS can sell or relocate the Mustangs, as long as the city is given the right of first refusal to buy back the team at the final negotiated sale price plus any documented net investment made by the firm, he said.
But “we’re not planning to acquire the team with that as a condition,” [NSS chief executive officer Bill] Davidson told the council. If owning the Mustangs proves viable for NSS, the team will stay in Martinsville, he said. According to the team’s official statistics, an average of 1,006 people came to watch the Mustangs play in 2017.
The Mustangs have played at Hooker Field–a former minor league facility that was once home to the Martinsville Astros (Rookie; Appalachian League)–since 2005.
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