Studer, a Janesville native, is the owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League). Terms of the sale were not released, but sources pegged the final price at $9 million — but much of that will be funneled back into the new-ballpark effort by the current Snappers Board of Directors as overseen by a new entity, the Riverbend Stadium Authority. If the sale is approved by the Midwest League and Minor League Baseball (and, technically, by Major League Baseball, which never opposed franchise sales) and the city agrees to a new ballpark, construction could begin next spring.
The deal was made possible in late August when Beloit businessperson Diane Hendricks was persuaded to increase her contribution to the ballpark fundraising, which helped close a $3-million gap in the ballpark funding plan. In addition, paperwork for the sale was also submitted to the Midwest League last month after all parties reached agreement on a sale and ballpark plan, Multiple parties had expressed interested in purchasing the Snappers, with at least one other bid on the table from another existing MiLB team owner, but Studer presented a plan that would keep the team in Beloit. Technically, the Snappers are being purchased by Studer Entertainment and Retail. The team has been on the market for years, but the team’s Board of Directors had been focused on keeping the team in the area.
The proposed ballpark site is off Shirland Avenue, between the Rock River and Beloit Transfer Facility near the Beloit City Hall building, near the Wisconsin-Illinois state line. A new downtown Beloit ballpark has been pitched as a way to further investment in the area, while simultaneously resolving the facility issues that have faced the Snappers at Pohlman Field. That is an important area for the team given that the upcoming 2020 Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which has not been finalized, is expected to impose stricter facility standards that ultimately put the franchise’s future in Beloit in question.
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