With new ownership at the helm, the Kansas City T-Bones (independent; American Association) are plotting a future they say will include ballpark upgrades and a refined fan experience.
Following the 2019 season, the Ehlert family sold the T-Bones to Max Fun Entertainment LLC–a group led by local businessman Mark Brandmeyer. That came after a tumultuous period that saw the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City (UG) evict the T-Bones from T-Bones Stadium in October, citing default on rent and utility payments.
Under new ownership, the T-Bones have taken a few steps to map out their future. Terms approved by UG commissioners in October include a five-year lease to the ballpark, with three five-year options potentially extending that length, while providing a framework for the UG and T-Bones ownership to invest in ballpark upgrades.
During a Tuesday press conference, Brandmeyer discussed some of his future plans for the team, which could be noticed by fans in 2020 and beyond. A new logo has been unveiled (shown above), while the team is mapping out a series of ballpark improvements that will be designed to provide more entertainment options and make the facility usable on a year-round basis. Not all of those planned improvements would happen immediately, but the T-Bones hope to complete some renovations–including suite upgrades, a new bar behind home plate, and parking lot improvements–in time for the 2020 season. More from the Kansas City Star:
Renderings on display at the event Tuesday showed new bars, a bourbon and cigar deck, a family tailgate tent and eight pickleball courts in the outfield. The Boneyard bar will be carved out of a metal shipping container and a craft beer garden will include room for yard games, live music and food trucks.
“We want to make this a 365-day venue,” Brandmeyer said.
But those changes won’t all be immediate.
In an interview, he said the new ownership group started with basics like improving the team’s website, computers and other deferred maintenance projects. He said most of the former staff has stayed on and they’re working on a new naming rights deal for the stadium, which is currently only known as T-Bones Stadium.
Brandmeyer said he wants the new Home Plate Bar, parking lot improvements and suite renovations to wrap up before opening day.
Under the terms approved by UG commissioners in October, Max Fun Entertainment and the UG will share the cost of utilities in the first year before ownership assumes those expenses in subsequent seasons. In addition, the deal calls for team ownership to pay property taxes on an adjacent parking lot and cover all ballpark operating costs, though it would not pay monthly rent. The ownership group would commit to investing at least $500,000 into ballpark improvements. The UG, meanwhile, would allocate at least $1 million in STAR Bonds to cover ballpark upgrades. Technically, that agreement had not been signed as of Tuesday, though that was expected to happen soon.
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