We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #3: Elmore Sports Group announces three MiLB franchise shifts for 2019.
The Elmore Sports group is on the move, as three of its Minor League Baseball teams are preparing for a shuffle that will take place prior to the 2019 season. As announced in June, the San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League) will move to Amarillo and be replaced in San Antonio by the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), while the Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) will relocate to Colorado Springs.
The Class AA Missions’ move to Amarillo has garnered support from the local community with the City of Amarillo and the Elmore Sports Group agreeing to a 30-year lease for the team, which will play in a new $45.5 million downtown ballpark. The preliminary agreement between the city and the team states the team will lease the ballpark for $400,000 per year through 2048, with contract outs in 2038 if the city fails to agree to facility upgrades and renovations to keep up with industry standards.
Helena moving to Colorado Springs will allow the Elmore Sports Group to continue using Security Service Field. Over the past 12 years, the group has pumped over $10 million into improvements at Security Service Field, including a new HD video board and a new field lighting system.
The moves have already started speculation about the team’s futures in terms of affiliations. Colorado Springs has a player development contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that runs through the 2018 season, though the Class AAA franchise could have a new parent club once it arrives at Nelson Wolff Stadium—where it is expected to play until a new San Antonio ballpark opens—for the 2019 season. Only time will tell which teams will start fresh with new affiliates.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List: