Brewers Eye Dunedin As Blue Jays Consider Palm Beach
By News Service of Florida // December 6, 2013
MLB TEAM SPRING TRAINING SITE SHIFTING AFFECTS NATIONAL'S POSSIBLE MOVE AFTER 2014 SEASON
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – As Brevard County continues to entice the Washington Nationals to stay in Brevard beyond their agreement which expires in 2017, other areas of the state are also jockeying for position to attract Major League Baseball teams to their area.
The Nationals have said they are looking for a more centralized location to reduce the travel time when they play away games. Several other Florida venues have had discussions with the Nationals over the last two years in an attempt to attract the team to their communities.
The Phoenix Business Journal reported that the Milwaukee Brewers, who currently train in Phoenix, Arizona, are considering a possible move to Dunedin, the current spring-training home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
FLORIDA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MONEY
As extra incentive to make a move to the Sunshine State, The Milwaukee Brewers may be getting on deck for some of Florida’s economic-development money.
“We are reviewing all of our options and have not ruled anything out at this point,” Bob Quinn, executive vice president for the baseball team, told the Phoenix Business Journal on Wednesday.
The Brewers have trained in Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix since 1998. A 10-year extension to the team’s lease started in 2013, but the agreement includes an option to leave after the 2015 season.
The ability to play off one spring-training location against another was a goal of the new rules for spring training funding that was included in an economic-development package (SB 406) signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year.
The measure offers up to $666,660 a year in sales-tax revenue for stadium upgrades or construction if a community seeks to retain or entice a single team to move. The funding can jump to $1.33 million if a community can cobble together a two-team package.
AGREEMENTS MUST BE AT LEAST 20 YEARS
The new rules require agreements to be at least 20 years, a minimum of the length of bonds for the stadium work. Deals can only be made with teams within four years of the end of existing lease contracts.
Scott pitched the proposal as a means to keep Florida’s existing spring training lineup of baseball teams from jumping to the Cactus League in Arizona.
The Blue Jays and Houston Astros, who now train in Kissimmee, continue to work on a deal to move into a $100 million complex on 82 acres near a residential section of Palm Beach Gardens in Palm Beach County.
With all the fluid dynamics in wooing and financing MLB Spring Training facilities by Florida (and Arizona) municipalities, it remains to be seen where the Nationals will end up when the music stops.