The Connecticut Tigers (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) franchise is set to remain at Dodd Stadium well beyond 2019, as the Norwich City Council approved a 10-year lease extension on Monday.
The Tigers have been operating under a lease for Dodd Stadium that expires after the 2019 season, but the club has been working with the City of Norwich to finalize an extension. It was recently revealed that the two sides had agreed in principal to an extension, with the proposal requiring city council approval to move forward.
A decision was made by the council on Monday, when members voted unanimously to approve the extension. More details should emerge after the two parties have officially signed the agreement, but the 10-year deal would take effect at the beginning of 2020 and include two five-year team options. In addition, it would trigger ballpark upgrades while the Tigers will rebrand to include Norwich in their name. More from The Day:
Once signed, the contract would trigger the start of $800,000 in stadium improvements approved by the city for the 25-year-old stadium.
Following an executive session, the council voted unanimously to authorize City Manager John Salomone to sign the lease agreement negotiated between city leaders and team owner Miles Prentice in March. Team officials also received the proposed final lease language on Friday and are reviewing the document, Salomone said earlier Monday.
Full details of the agreement will not be released until it is signed by both parties. Terms call for a new 10-year lease starting Jan. 1, 2020, and would give the team the option for two five-year extensions.
The lease will call for changing the team name to “Norwich.” In anticipation of the pending lease approval, the Tigers announced a new “name the team” contest last week that allows fans to submit suggestions online through April 25. Fans will vote on the top choices later this summer. The Tigers are the Short Season Single A minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
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, and have played there since 2010.