Posted on 31 January 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs have decided to keep their Spring Training home in Mesa, Arizona. Once Mesa city officials unanimously approved a plan for the new and improved “Wrigleyville West”, Cubs officials jumped at the bit and gave the city the exclusive right to get the deal done. The development will include commercial properties, a shopping district and hotels and could occupy as much as 100 acres in the Phoenix suburb. The $84 million complex will also be the site of a brand new, state-of-the-art 15,000-seat ballpark.
The Naples, Florida bid to bring the Cubs to the Grapefruit League on the east coast in Florida is on hold for now.
I must say I am a little surprised by the decision. I know the Ricketts Family has ties in Florida, so Mesa must have made a great proposal to keep the Cubs in Arizona. It also shows the Cubs commitment to the area for all of the great things they have done for the Cubs over the last 57 years.
Posted on 23 January 2010 by Lou
As the world turns – the Cubs are currently reviewing a plan tendered by the city of Mesa, Arizona to keep the Chicago Cubs in the Cactus League during Spring Training for the next 25 years. Will it work – only time will tell as the Cubs are also mulling an offer from a Naples, Florida development group. The wooing is on…
Mesa’s Memorandum of Understanding proposes building a new 15,000-seat stadium for the Cubs with a modern facility that can be used by the club and fans alike year-round. The deal would be for a 25-year term. Reports indicated that the Cubs bring $52 million in annual revenue to the state of Arizona, so Mesa and the state want to do whatever possible to keep the Cubs in Arizona for the long-term.
Under the proposed MOU, the Cubs would acquire the land used to build the stadium and would maintain and operate the stadium, parking and public access roads surrounding the stadium. If construction costs exceeded the agreed upon $84 million, the Cubs would cover that excess cost. The city would also be obligated to secure the passage of state legislation that would help fund some of the facility construction. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything definitive, but it looks like the Cubs will be staying out west for Spring Training for the foreseeable future…
Posted on 14 January 2010 by Lou
A decision as to whether the Cubs play future spring training games in Mesa, Arizona or in Naples, Florida could come as early as next week. The investment group trying to lure the Chicago Cubs to Naples consists of Chicago-based Esmark Inc. and Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors. The group held a press conference today to highlight the numerous local and state benefits related to a Cubs move east.
As the top draw in the Cactus League, the Cubs bring in an estimated $52 million in revenue to the State of Arizona. Compare that with the approximate $24 million in revenue that out-of-state Red Sox fans bring into Florida during spring training and you can see why Florida would love to have the Cubs. If you throw in the proposed Wrigley Village that private investors would build up around the Cubs complex, the Cubs revenue impact in and around Naples would be a year-round affair. That means good things for all residents of the state of Florida. The other good news for area residents – no county sales tax or property tax would go towards funding the new Cubs facility. All funding to build the complex would come from private sources and from fees paid by out-of-state tourists and state funds that have already been set aside for the Florida baseball industry.
This is pretty exciting stuff. And it has come a long way since we first reported on the potential move way back in November. Could the Cubs make an announcement at this weekend’s Cubs Convention? We’ll keep you posted as soon we hear anything…
Posted on 02 December 2009 by Lou
Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts met with Florida Governor Charlie Crist this week to discuss the Cubs future spring training site. The Cubs currently train in Mesa, Arizona, but are exploring the opportunity to relocate such facilities to the east coast in Collier County, Florida. Three Florida businessmen presented a plan to Ricketts and Dale Brill – the head of Florida’s office of tourism, trade and economic development. The group proposed building a brand new $100 million training facility for the Cubs near Naples in Collier County. The Cubs would also move their Class Daytona minor league team to the new location. The new location would also serve as the headquarters for the team’s entire minor league operations. The group also proposed the development of a year-round “Wrigley Village” that would serve as a tourist “trap” all season long.
One of the businessmen – Craig Bouchard – had this to say about the economic jolt that a Chicago Cubs arrival would have on the entire state of Florida: “With the governor, we discussed the merits of having $50 million of incremental revenue flow into Collier County annually and the additional boost the Cubs would generate to other towns in Florida which host Major League teams. Because the Cubs are the No. 1 draw of all Major League teams in the spring, attracting the Cubs would provide a boost to the economies of several counties in the state.” Florida has lost the likes of several MLB teams the last few years – the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds – so bringing in the Cubs would be a huge coup for the state.
While Ricketts has publicly said that the goal is to get “the best facility”, one would have to think that if the state of Florida offers incentives and tax breaks for the Cubs to re-locate to Naples, he would jump at that opportunity. Arizona is still in the hunt too, so we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear any further developments…