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No License Agreement Completed Between IronBirds, Aberdeen

Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium

As of late last week,the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) and the City of Aberdeen were no closer to reaching a license agreement for management of non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium for 2018.

On December 31, the license agreement between Aberdeen and Tufton Baseball LLC–the Ripken-backed entity that owns the IronBirds–was set to expire. That agreement called for Tufton Baseball to manage non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual license fee.

As 2017 came to a close, the two sides were having difficulties in discussions over renewing the agreement, meaning that it could revert back to seeing the city manage non-IronBird events at the facility. Days before the year ended, it was confirmed that the club’s ownership had made a final offer but that the city would not take any action on that proposal before 2017 concluded. More from The Baltimore Sun:

“At this point, the city is going to be managing the facility starting Jan. 1,” [Aberdeen Mayor Patrick] McGrady said. “Unless something changes between now and three days from now, then that looks like the path forward.”

Currently, day-to-day maintenance and bookings at the stadium are the responsibility of Tufton Professional Baseball, which manages the team that was acquired by the Ripkens in 2002. But capital projects such as structural repairs fall to the city, which continues to pay the debt service of $600,000 a year.

For months, the IronBirds’ management organization has been negotiating with the city to try to retain the license to book non-team events, which include church activities, weddings and charity fundraisers.

John Maroon, a spokesman for Cal Ripken Jr., the Hall of Fame former Orioles’ player, and his brother, Billy, said Friday it would be premature to provide details of what he called “a long-term, final offer” Tufton has made to the city.

While reaching an agreement with the club’s ownership had not been ruled out, it was also reported that Aberdeen was making progress in discussions to have the Huntley Sports Group manage non-IronBird events on its behalf. The Aberdeen City Council’s next scheduled meeting is January 8.

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