Jackson (TN) now has full control of The Ballpark at Jackson after an arbitrator ruled in the city’s favor, saying that the lease with the Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League) was invalid after the team lost affiliated status.
The Generals were not one of the teams making the cut to 120 teams following MLB’s takeover of the sport. The city then asked Jackson Baseball Club LLC d/b/a The Jackson Generals, primarily owned by David Freeman, to vacate the ballpark and came to a separate agreement to host Winnipeg Goldeyes (American Association) games when COVID-19 travel restrictions forced the team to play in the United States. Because an affiliated team was specified in the lease, the city declared the Generals in default and moved to have the Generals turn over the ballpark to the city while advertising for new tenants in an RFP process.
Freeman refused to vacate the ballpark and sought to resolve the issue via mediation. After two days over one basic issue–whether the lease required a tenant to sport an MiLB affiliation–the Arbitrator entertained five witnesses snd ruled that the affiliation clause “is singularly woven into the contract” and that the Generals breached that requirement, according to a city press release. The decision directs the Generals to remove any property they still have in the ballpark within 30 days.
As noted, the city has already planned for 2022 and beyond after soliciting interest in a new leaseholder via a summertime RFP process.