SBD/Issue 150/Facilities & Venues

MiLB Agrees To Terms To Lease, Operate Dodgertown Complex

MiLB Plans To Host Both Sports, Non-Sports
Related Events At Dodgertown Complex
Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has agreed to terms with the city of Vero Beach, Florida, and Indian River County for a five-year partnership to lease and operate the Dodgertown baseball complex. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. MiLB plans to host a number of events, both sports and non-sports related, on a year-round basis at the complex. MiLB has hired former Dodgers VP/Spring Training & Minor League Facilities Craig Callan to manage the property, beginning May 1. Callan had been the director of the complex for the Dodgers until recently retiring from the organization (MiLB). In Florida, Ed Bierschenk noted the facility "won’t be hosting [MLB] spring training in the near future," but MiLB officials "believe they will still have a major economic impact in the area." MiLB President Pat O'Conner said that he "believes the facility could play host to events for 35 to 40 weeks in the first year of operation alone, which could start as early as spring 2010." O'Conner said that the facility "will be marketed through the 160 different markets where" MiLB has teams (TCPALM.com, 4/22). WPEC-CBS' Allison Bybee reported MiLB "will pay just $1 to the county each year for the facilities," the "same deal the county had with the Dodgers" (CBS12.com, 4/22). O' Conner said that while the "initial commitment is only for five years, he believes that was only because his board members had difficulty with the concept of a 10-year commitment right away with the new venture." He said that the "plans are to be in Vero Beach 'hopefully for a long, long time'" (FLORIDA TODAY, 4/23). The AP's Antonio Gonzalez noted officials had "hoped to lure a major league team for spring training permanently," and they "negotiated for months" with the Orioles. But negotiations "broke down last year, ending when the county rescinded its offer to the Orioles" (AP, 4/22).

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