Ottawa Stadium Lease Still Not Inked

- May 23rd, 2012

Beacon Sports Capital Partners was missing a key piece of paper when it was trying to woo the Toronto Blue Jays to affiliate with a double-A baseball team in Ottawa.

They didn’t have a signed lease with the City of Ottawa for the Ottawa Stadium.

A city spokeswoman confirmed those lease negotiations are still going on. Presumably they have been happening since council endorsed Beacon Sports as the tenant on Feb. 22. After three months, it appears both sides still aren’t close to a final agreement.

Safe to say when the Blue Jays announced today it’s keeping its double-A affiliate with New Hampshire through 2014, there was some shock and confusion around City Hall. There was no heads-up to this.

But if you don’t have a stadium lease, chances are you aren’t going to get a Major League Baseball franchise interested in your pitch for a minor league team.

It all leads to some very interesting questions about the future of baseball in Ottawa and how to spend city money.

Mayor Jim Watson said today there needs to be a decision by June if an Eastern League team will relocate to Ottawa in 2013. That’s around the corner.

If Beacon Sports doesn’t have a team to move for 2013, you have to wonder what happens to the renovation plan for the stadium. The city is prepared to borrow $5.7 million for renovations, but if there’s no team coming in 2013, will Watson and council still want to sink money into the facility?

Then there’s Beacon Sports, which has agreed to pay $5.5 million for stadium upgrades. Watson seems to have patience to hold out until 2014, but we wait to see if Beacon Sports is game.

Considering the lease isn’t nailed down, things don’t look great for professional baseball in Ottawa in 2013.

The good news for baseball fans? There’s still the Fat Cats.

Categories: Ottawa Stadium

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