The Connecticut Tigers (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) and City of Norwich have an agreement in principal for a Dodd Stadium lease extension and a team name change, with the city council to consider the terms this month.
Under the potential long-term lease extension, the Tigers and Norwich would agree to an arrangement that sees the club remain at Dodd Stadium while facilitating ballpark upgrades. As part of the agreement, the franchise would rebrand to include Norwich in its name and the terms would also allow for a sale of ballpark naming rights to a corporate sponsor (though “Dodd” would remain in the ballpark’s name in some form).
The Tigers and Norwich are currently working under a lease that will expire in December, so a potential extension could be approved months ahead of the existing agreement’s expiration. The lease and its terms are slated to go before the Norwich City Council on April 15. More from The Bulletin:
Once the lease is signed, the city has $800,000 in approved bond money set to work on upgrades to the stadium, which opened in 1995. The upgrades include a new HVAC system in the home and visitors clubhouses, the front offices and the team store. Luxury suites each have their own air conditioning units. The most noticeable change will be new LED lights that conform to modern professional baseball standards.
[Norwich Mayor Peter] Nystrom also said that the city is showing its commitment to the team by having City Manager John Salamone’s budget proposal, which will be unveiled at Monday’s council meeting, include $100,000 for maintenance and improvements at Dodd Stadium, which opened in 1995.
“John proposed the amount, and the council will decide,” Nystrom said. “There is widespread support for that. It should have been done every year since it opened.”
The rebranding of the stadium to include a sponsor could result in revenue sharing opportunities for the Tigers and the city, which Nystrom said could help with the stadium maintenance. No details are ready as of yet regarding the team name except for including the city in the name, such as it was when the Norwich Navigators started in Dodd’s first season.
Dodd Stadium originally hosted the Norwich Navigators (Class AA; Eastern League) starting in 1995, with the team later rebranding as the Connecticut Defenders before relocating to Richmond, VA prior to the 2010 season. The Oneonta Tigers then moved to Norwich and Dodd Stadium, where they have played as the Connecticut Tigers since 2010.