The City of Aberdeen plans on working with a national firm to sell Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, according to information presented earlier this week.
Officials in the Maryland city continue to discuss the possibility of selling the home of the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League). The ballpark’s remaining debt service and maintenance costs has been cited as an issue, and the city has been unable to come to terms with the Ripken-backed Tufton Professional Baseball LLC–owner of the IronBirds–on a licensing agreement for the ballpark.
While some local business leaders have expressed their concern over a potential sale, the city plans to continue moving forward with the process. According to Aberdeen mayor Patrick McGrady, the city is seeking a firm that can market the ballpark nationally. More from The Aegis:
As part of the process to sell the stadium, McGrady said Monday, the firm it hires will have to be capable of nationally marketing the facility.
At the same time, the city will work with its bond counsel to see “if and how” it can transfer the stadium bonds or pay off the debt early, he said. Aberdeen still owes $600,000 a year for the next four years to pay off the debt service, he said.
“We don’t know if it can be done. We’re going to investigate that in the process of marketing the facility for sale,” McGrady said.
The city and council have demonstrated “that we are not efficient utilizers of the facility,” he said. A third party would do a better job of hosting events that would benefit the city, the new owner and Tufton.
As noted, the city and IronBirds have been at odds over the licensing agreement for Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The agreement that runs through December 31 calls for Tufton Baseball, LLC to manage non-IronBird related events at the ballpark, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual licence fee. That fee is at $95,000 for 2017.