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Grizzlies' lease terms presented to Council


THURSDAY, 03 DECEMBER 2009 23:17

A crowd of baseball enthusiasts gathered in support of the Fresno Grizzlies last night as the City Council listened to the terms of a revised lease that aimed to extend the economically challenged team’s stay at Chukchansi park.

The proposal, detailed by Daniel Barrett of Barrett Sports Group, was the result of negotiations between the City and the Grizzlies’ owner, Fresno Baseball Club LLP, in an effort to reconcile more than $800,00 in balloon rent payment owed by the team this month.

The Grizzlies had previously requested their $1.5 annual rent be reduced to a third of that amount. The revised terms, which would extend the lease an additional five years beyond the original 30, maintains the current rent at equal monthly installments.

The proposal figures in a share of operating expenses to come from the City, including a reimbursement of up to $500,000 for qualifying expenses and maintenance repairs and an annual investment of $100,000 into a capital reserve fund.

The City would also be asked to provide $500,000 for a new scoreboard by next season, to be repaid by the team in ten years while parking revenues would be conceded to the Grizzlies during team events.

The deal would extend a portion of the team’s profits to the City, including 35 percent of concession revenues from ovations, 20 percent of any earnings over $500,000 and 20 percent of gross revenues over $7.25 million as well as a percentage of the net profit in the event that the team is sold, which Barrett said is likely to happen in the foreseeable future. The City will also collect an Arts/Parks/Entertainment/Sports (APES) fee at $1 for every non-season ticket with the option of increase the fee up to $0.50 every five years.

In addition, the City would be given permanent advertising opportunities at the stadium to promote City events and hold the team subject to terms of the Better Business Act with reimbursements for consulting fees. The team would require City approval for any affiliate transaction over $25,000 while a mandatory annual audit of financial statements would also be under scrutiny of the City.

The proposed terms still maintain a payment of approximately $863,000 due to the City before the end of the year. The City Council is expected to make a decision on the proposal in two weeks.

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