SAVE OUR CITY: ELEBASH LOOKS AT BASEBALL PARK

July 3, 2006

Subject: Baseball stadium comparisons

  

 

Downtown baseball stadiums

Promoters of the Trillium baseball stadium are touting six cities with downtown or waterfront baseball stadiums. The promoters claim that success at these ballparks justifies spending $16,000,000 of City funds to build a stadium on the Trillium property.

 

 

The following is a comparison of the six with Pensacola and the Pelicans:

 

City                             Pop.                League             Class              Capacity         Built

Charleston, SC            97,000             South Atlantic       A                   5,500               1997

Chattanooga, TN        155,000           Southern              AA                  6,400               2000

Fort Worth, TX           535,000           Am. Assoc.          Ind.                   5,100              2002

Greenville, SC             56,000             South Atlantic       A                     5,000              2006

Louisville, KY            256,000           International          AAA                13,100             2000

Montgomery, AL        200,000           Southern               AA                  7,000               2004

Pensacola                 55,000            Am. Assoc.              Ind.                  3,500

 

 

Discussion:

Pensacola and the Pelicans are not comparable with the other six, with the possible exception of Greenville, SC. All the cities have larger populations than Pensacola, except for Greenville. All the teams have minor league status except for Pensacola and Fort Worth.

 

These two are in an “independent” league. Pensacola is definitely not comparable with Fort Worth because the latter is in a large metropolitan area.

 

“Independent” leagues are composed of teams that are not affiliated with major league teams.

 

These leagues do not qualify for membership in the Minor League Baseball association. They are on the fringes of professional baseball. Typically, their rosters are composed of players who were released by or were never signed by a major league organization.

 

Few small baseball franchises have sustained success. They may draw well at first, but public interest tends to wane. As an example, Florida State League (Single A) teams had an average attendance of about 1300 in 2005. Pelicans’ paid attendance has apparently also averaged less than 1500.

 

The September 2005 Florida Trend magazine had an article on 17 Florida

“renaissance cities”.

 

Only one has a downtown baseball stadium — St. Petersburg, home of the

major league Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

 

 

C. C. Elebash, July 2006

 

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