Professional baseball is returning to Laredo, TX’s Uni-Trade Stadium, as city officials have approved an agreement with Tecolotes Dos Laredos (Mexican League).
Laredo officials had been considering a plan for the Tecolotes to play half its home games at Uni-Trade Stadium, with the remaining played in Nuevo Laredo. The plan called for the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz franchise to play as the Tecolotes for 2018 and beyond.
That effort came to fruition on Monday, when the Laredo City Council unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the club’s ownership group, 2L4L Baseball LLC. Approval had been expected prior to the vote, but officials nonetheless showed their eagerness to see baseball return to Uni-Trade Stadium. More from the Laredo Morning Times:
The decision was already expected by most. Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz met for a press conference in Nuevo Laredo on Friday as they introduced the franchise’s new logo which featured the name Tecolotes Dos Laredos.
Laredo City Manager Horacio De Leon said the new ownership group will have all rights to Uni-Trade Stadium while the city will be responsible for maintenance of the field. The parties have agreed to a five-year term in which the city pays $125,000 per year for the marketing and promotion of the team. Of that total, $100,000 will be in cash. The remainder will be in promotions such as billboards and collateral.
Laredo will also collect the finances for stadium naming rights and will receive 25 percent of the ensuing ticket sales after 3,000 are sold each game. The Laredo Lemurs, who were shut down before this past season, averaged 3,834 fans their inaugural season in 2012 but only 893 during their last year in 2016.
“You’re a good negotiator,” said City Councilman Roberto Balli to De Leon. “You’re negotiating a good deal for the city. It’s a good deal for the citizens. Members of this council and the community were left with a really bad taste in their mouths from the experience with the Laredo Lemurs. Not to put anyone in that organization down but it was an organization that didn’t have baseball experience. The big difference we are seeing here is we are bringing in a Mexican League affiliated team with experience.
The ownership group is led by the Mansur family, which has been connected to the Mexican League since 1988, while Danny Lopez is serving as an operating partner. This will not be the first time a club has split its games between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, as Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos (Owls of the Two Laredos) is a bygone Mexican League club that for many years, beginning in 1985, split its home games between the two cities.
Uni-Trade Stadium was home of the Laredo Lemurs (independent; American Association) from 2012-2016, but the team was removed from the American Association’s lineup for 2017 and beyond after a legal battle over control of the team and the ballpark’s lease. With a new tenant could eventually come a new name for the ballpark. The previous naming rights agreement ended when the Lemurs left the facility, and Laredo officials are expected to pursue a naming rights deal.
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