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New pro ballpark pitched for Shreveport

Shreveport CaptainsWith Fair Grounds Field set for demolition, the city of Shreveport is partnering with REV Entertainment on a new ballpark to house a new professional team, likely for an MLB Partner League squad.

Mayor Adrian Perkins announced his intentions for the city to back a multiuse facility featuring pro baseball, concerts and other entertainment events. The new ballpark will also be located in the State Fair Grounds, which also hosts Independence Stadium. In the past Fair Grounds Field hosted Texas League and independent-baseball teams, as well as a slew of college-baseball tournaments and other college matches. However, given the amount of damage caused to the ballpark over the years, the city has been attempting to tear it down, a move slowed by lawsuits.

“Today our economy is growing much faster,” said Perkins in a press conference announcing the new facility. “A lot of our citizens have to go to Dallas for entertainment, we want to be able to park those dollars right here at home.”

REV Entertainment is the events firm headed by the Texas Rangers’ Neil Leibman and Sean Decker. Leibman serves as President of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer, while Decker serves as Texas Rangers Executive Vice President, Sports and Entertainment. Leibman also is Managing Partner of Top Tier Sports, which has an ownership stake in the Cleburne Railroaders (American Association).

There are many details to be worked out: the destination league (which may not be hard to deduce), the ballpark budget and financing, and timing. In addition, the current mayoral race may be a complicating factor, with Tom Arceneaux and Greg Tarver involved in a runoff scheduled for December 10. Neither candidate has endorsed any ballpark plan—but neither has come out in opposition, either. It sounds like support will depend on what is actually proposed by REV Entertainment:

Arceneaux, the Republican candidate for mayor, said of Decker’s plan, “It’s an interesting concept from a legitimate company that needs further discussion.”

But Arceneaux says he’s hesitant to commit the city to a bond project to pay for it.

Tarver, a Democrat, characterized it as an introductory meeting.

“I don’t have any feelings one way or the other about it yet. But this city doesn’t have $70 million to build it.”

Shreveport is the fourth-largest MSA in Louisiana; the top three—New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette—lack professional baseball as well.

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