The City of Aberdeen has officially hired an outside firm to manage non-baseball events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
Previously, non-IronBird events were managed by Tufton Baseball LLC–the Ripken-backed entity that owns the IronBirds. However, the agreement between Tufton and Aberdeen expired at the end of 2017, prompting the city to pursue an arrangement that would see the Huntley Sports Group manage all non-baseball events at the facility.
While delays prevented the city from finalizing the new license agreement with Huntley Sports Group last month, it is now moving forward. On Monday. the Aberdeen City Council voted by a 4-1 margin to sign an agreement with Huntley Sports Group that will run through the end of 2018. More from The Aegis:
The agreement, which expires Dec. 31, 2018, allows Huntley to act on behalf of the city of Aberdeen under the terms of the concession agreement it has with the Ripken organization and its umbrella group, Tufton Professional Baseball LLC, Huntley CEO Athan Sunderland said.
The city will receive all revenues from events it hosts at the stadium, according to the agreement. From the revenues, Huntley will be paid the costs it incurs to put on the events plus 15 percent of expenses, according to [Mayor Patrick] McGrady.
“It is a violation of IRS statutes to provide a percentage of revenue to a manager” of a facility paid for with tax-free bonds, the mayor said.
The city will establish a rate schedule for use of the stadium for events, according to the agreement. The city may consult with Huntley on those fees, “but the determination of the rate scheduled shall be in the city’s sole and absolute discretion,” according to the agreement.
The City of Aberdeen and the IronBirds had experienced difficulties in their negotiations over a renewal for the license agreement. Under the terms of the previous agreement, Tufton Baseball LLC managed non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual license fee.
The license agreement, it should be noted, is separate from the team’s lease. The lease agreement that keeps the IronBirds committed to playing at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium does not expire until 2022.
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