Blogger Template by Blogcrowds

Commenter “Ben Cheney” - back from the dead, apparently- has some disquieting thoughts about the Reno situation:

Rainier fans can all but help pack up the gear, as the team won't be here in 2009 if funding is not found for a complete overhaul of Cheney Stadium.

2.5M additional funding from the state is not going to get this done. Cheney overhaul is a 30 million dollar endeavor, 15 hard must be public money, with 15 more in private investment. Private money could pose a problem without a valid plan of profitablility, unless the money comes from entities that simply donate for the good of the overall community.

There have been several articles and stories involving this development, and here is a glance of what the said, and who the players are.

Schlegel Group - Quietly meeting with Dallas city officials regarding a new ballpark being built there and scheduled to open in 2009.

The Texas Rangers have final say in that market, and normally would not consider a AAA team so close to Arlington. However, a deal with Schlegel would involve Real Estate development projects in or around the stadium site, and current Schlegel group VP Bob McCall was the president/GM of the Frisco AA team of the Rangers. The format there would be one of multiple investment opportunities, cross marketing, and proximity for call up to the parent club from AAA.

Reno/Sparks - Lead group has secured a initial agreement to purchase an undisclosed AAA team. Most consider the club to be the Tucson Sidewinders, as they have been quietly marketed for sale the past 2-3 years prior to winning the PCL crown in 2006.

1. Schlegel group moves the Rainiers after the 2008 season, sign Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

The Padres sign Player Development contract with Reno/Sparks.

The Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, (great cross marketing opportunity, short call up traval to Safeco).

The Diamondbacks sign Player Development contract with Oklahoma (Rangers former AAA club). Or, there could be multiple affilation changes after these moves.

2. Schlegel sells the Rainiers. Purchases the Tucson Sidewinders. Moves the Sidewinders to Dallas. Sign Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

Reno/Sparks group purchases the Rainiers, moves franchise to Reno/Sparks. Sign Player Development contract with the Padres.

Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, Oregon ownership.

Diamondbacks sign Player Development contract with Oklahoma or other city based on potential affiliation changes.

Bottom line is simple. Cheney Stadium goes through a complete renovation, or Tacoma's 47 year run in the PCL is history.

If that happens, the best we can all hope for is short season A ball in the Northwest League.

In the meantime, Cheney is a great place to watch a ballgame and spend the summer. Let's all enjoy it while it's still here!
Now, I don’t entirely agree with everything here. I still say that Nashville - thanks to their ongoing stadium debacle - is the more likely team to be moved, but multiple moves are certainly possible. This Reno thing has pushed a issue onto the table - that of Cheney Stadium and it’s drawbacks - much earlier in the season than I had hoped. Ben Cheney’s ultimate point is correct: Cheney Stadium requires a full-on makeover, and if that doesn’t happen, the Rainiers certainly could move and do so sooner than later.

So, how exactly do we come up with the $30-50 million a new or renovated park would require?


  1. Oly Rainiers Fan said...
    Look, I've been to several of those new or renovated AAA ballparks, and find them WAY less interesting than Cheney. Most of them are very sterile and corporate environments, and the seats are far removed from the players allowing little to no contact. So much for a personal and/or intimate experience.

    In the recent past, the infield at Cheney was completely replaced. Then the turf. Then the seats. Now the bleachers in LF have been removed, and next year the bleachers in RF will be removed. So much for affordable family entertainment.

    The remaining items needing overhaul at Cheney are: roof, press box, clubhouses, concessions, restroom. You're telling me that's 30 million?
    Ben Cheney said...
    I tend to agree with you, there is no better place to watch baseball than Cheney Stadium.

    25 -30 million goes toward consulting fees, traffic and access issus, dugouts, clubhouses, training facililites, indoor batting cages, new bathrooms, concessions, restauant/bar, corporate suites (both behind the plate and field/dugot level), party areas, grass seating, scoreboards, audio/video feeds, corporate offices, press area, etc.

    Modern day Triple A franchises cannot sustain positive revenue streams by catering to the traditional baseball fan. It is a hard pill to swallow, but it's true. Traditional ticket sales (non corporate)include 20% baseball purest, 80% recreational fan.

    Marketing is not centered around the actual game itself, but around the recreational "experience". Triple A franchise owners will tell you that without the "corporate" relationships, and the revenues derived from them, they cannot provide affordable family entertainment.

    For the most part, past improvements to Cheney Stadium are not revenue producing. Sure, the playing surface is great, (Ryan does a great job), the seats have cup-holders, etc.. but they don't provide ownership with new revenue.

    Gone are the Nacarrato days, when there was community commitment behind the product that ownership group provided the City of Tacoma and Pierce County. They gave away more tickets than they sold, but those "freebies" spent some money at the ballpark.

    New revenue comes from programs like the "Gold Club". Expensive yes, but if your a season ticket holder that attends 40-50 games a year, it is money well spent. Ownership is generating a minimum of $8 per game, per seat with this add on. And they have a formula of how many games on average will not be attended, thus each goes straight to profit by not having to extend the inclusions of the Gold program. Bottom line, new revenue stream by simply providing this option to the season ticket holder. I assume that next year the "Gold Club" will be mandatory for field box season tickets, and possibley even row box, as they comprise a small % of the total seating at Cheney.

    Cheney Stadium needs to be a facility that generates money long after the baseball season ends. Restaurant and bar open year around, special events, meeting rooms, catering revenues, etc..

    Keep in mind that Branch Rickey doesn't like Cheney Stadium, or it's location and proximity to downtown. There are no additional recreational opportunities around the ballpark such as shops, restaurants, etc. to bring new people to the ballpark as a part of the overall "fan" experience.

    Cheney Stadium needs to be renovated, pure and simple. The City of Tacoma and Pierce County need to invest the money to keep baseball in Tacoma. If they can spend millions on a golf course playable 5 months a year, they can get this done.

    It was a travisty in my opinion to tear down Sick's Stadium in Seattle. But do you really hear that many people still talking about it?

    2009 - $5M in cosmetic changes to Cheney Stadium and no team calling it home. Just doesn't sit right with me.
    oly rainiers fan said...
    God I wish the effort you guys made to buy it and run it as a non-profit had worked out. I hated when I got my contribution back in the mail, especially after the deal fell through and then the Fosters just owned it again for another year or two.

    Truly, I just don't see the 'corporate' thing working in Tacoma. Why, if I owned/operated a business, would I not drive the extra 30 miles to go see major league ball? I mean, if it's about impressing your clients, why wouldn't you go major league? I keep wondering about the comparison of revenues for AAA clubs that are located within easy driving distance of a major league club versus those that aren't. And wondering whether it helps/hurts that the parent club is close.

    Well they can't add MORE party areas, having converted the entire LF bleacher section to party areas and planning to do the same to the RF bleachers next year. Once school is out and the elementary schools stop bringing the little kids by busloads, is there really a group orientation in Tacoma?

    I wondered how the Gold Club was going, and do worry (as I sit in one of those sweet FB seats and attend every home game) that next year they'll tell me I have to pay twice my $660 and upgrade to Gold Club for $1200. Which gets me, who sits chained to my seat, keeping score, absolutely nothing. I don't eat popcorn or crackerjacks, rarely eat peanuts there (if I eat something, it's 'real' food), don't drink beer because that would mean trips to the bathroom and, well, I keep score. I worry about being forced to separate from my seat companions. I asked that question straight out though, and got a dodge of an answer so I worry even more.

    What they will end up with is a stadium that may make more money, but have even fewer people showing up to watch the games. How festive and entertaining is that, to play to and be surrounded by an empty ballpark? Or a ballpark filled with folks who are more interested in hobnobbing in the Gold Club than watching the game?

    Actually, I do hear a lot of people still reminiscing about Sick's stadium, and how sad it is that the old home plate is now one of the cashier's stands at the Lowe's on Rainier Ave. But then again, I'm a member of SABR, which makes me totally geeky that way. (I shepherded two busloads of SABR national convention attendees down to a game in Tacoma last year).
    frinklin said...
    I would assume that any renovation project - more than the coat of paint currently happening - would almost certainly involve a complete demolition of the outer face, and construction of an outfield concourse and possible second deck.

    There is a real movement in Tacoma right now, you see it the reclaiming of downtown, the expansion of the UW-T, the endless number of condos being built, and on one hand a new stadium or rebuilt Cheney might contribute to that. I just don't know if it would work, and I have a hard time seeing how it would be built.
    Anonymous said...
    Worthy source(s) indicate any hope for a renovation of Cheney Stadium is gone.

    Triple A baseball leaves Tacoma no later than September 2008 upon lease expiration.

    Look for the Mariners Triple A affiliate to be playing in PGE Park.
    Anonymous said...
    Here is why the Schelgel Group will
    either sell or move the Rainiers:

    1.New Dallas Baseball Stadium - Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers don't want to see any team or league for that matter competing in his territory. He has the MLB veto power, however has no control in relationship to Independant League baseball, etc. Stadium would be completed for the 2009 season.

    2. Triple A Baseball in Dallas -
    How sweet for Tom Hicks and the Rangers to have their AAA franchise in Dallas, and AA franchise in Frisco. Also, R/Estate opportunities around the ballpark. Triple A team would be owned by the Schlegel Group.

    3.Reno/Sparks & Dallas Ballparks - Interesting how this combination comes into play at the same time. Great way to re-locate 2 franchises at the same time.

    3. Schlegel Sports Group / Tom Hicks - Schlegel owns the Iowa Stars Hockey Team, minor league affiliate of the Dallas Stars, owned by Tom Hicks.

    4. Schlegel Sports Corporate Offices in Victory Park - Right next to American Airlines Arena, owned by you guessed it, Tom Hicks whose teams the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars play there. Also interesting Mike McCall worked for Tom Hicks prior to signing on with the Schlegel group.

    Opinion? The Schlegel Group never intended to keep the team in Tacoma. They needed a 2 year deal & the PCL needed 2 years to complete the franchise relocations to Reno/Sparks & Dallas, both with brand new state of the art stadiums.

    Cheney Staduim Renovation - Smoke Screen. Good deal for the City, they get some marginal upgrades over 2 years, make Cheney appealing to potential short season class A franchise once the Rainiers leave town, and 2 years of lease payments while the improvements are completed. Schlegel markets the franchise around the improvements during their 2 year stay in Tacoma. George Foster finally has the opportunity to sell the franchise, and the PCL gets the 2 new cities they were looking for,both of which are nice fits in regards to geographic location, and travel distances to other cities in the PCL.

    The Mariners will sign a deal to put the Triple A team in Portland. This keeps MLB out of the Portland Market, expands Mariner marketing territory down the I-5 corridor, and boosts revenues for the PCL ownership group in Portland.

    Too bad the Rainier's dont have a "Mascot Day" this year. Would have been fun to see Rhubarb & Boomer the Beaver duke it out.
    Anonymous said...
    My bad, Mark Cuban owns the Mavs, not Mr. Hicks.

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home