Aberdeen continues to pursue a licensing agreement with Huntley Sports Group, an outside firm, to manage non-baseball events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
At the end of 2017, the licensing agreement between the City of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) expired after the two sides experienced difficulties in their negotiations. Under the terms of the previous agreement, Tufton Baseball LLC–the Ripken-backed entity that owns the IronBirds–managed non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual license fee.
Now that that arrangement has expired with the two sides unable to agree to a renewal, Aberdeen is working to finalize an agreement with Huntley Sports Group. A proposal was to have been considered by the Aberdeen City Council on Thursday, but that vote was delayed so that officials could continue to look into concerns about how the agreement would affect the status of tax-exempt bonds that were used for the construction of Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. However, Huntley Sports Group CEO Athan Sunderland took the time at Thursday’s meeting to state his company’s commitment to maintaining strong relationships with the city and the IronBirds. More from The Aegis:
The city has prepared an agreement with HSG to manage non-baseball events for a $10 annual fee and 50 percent of the company’s net income each year — the remainder goes to the city. HSG is a Towson-based partnership of Pinkard Properties, MFS Advisors, of New York, and the late Dave Huntley, a famed lacrosse player and coach who died in December.
Sunderland said he is aware of the bond counsel’s concerns. He said he has been working in recent weeks with the city and Tufton on a “win-win solution.”
“A win-win solution is one that is focused on supporting the long-term combined success of the stadium, the City of Aberdeen, Ripken Baseball operations and Huntley Sports Group,” he said, reading from his letter.
“We are committed to the city, we are committed to our continued work with the Ripkens and Tufton Baseball, and we are committed to the people of Aberdeen to keep their economic engine growing by investing significant time, money and resources into what will be an even brighter future,” Sunderland continued.
Previously, the city has made clear its intention to pursue a sale of Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. As part of the proposed agreement with Huntley Sports Group, the firm would have first refusal rights to buy the ballpark if the city ultimately moves forward with a sale process.
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