For more than five years, the Beloit Snappers have been trying to secure funding to build a new stadium. If they don’t succeed in their quest soon, they may be forced to relocate the team after the 2020 season.
The Beloit Daily News reported Tuesday that the Snappers are under pressure to put together a viable plan for a new stadium with modern amenities as the metaphorical clock ticks toward the end of the current Professional Baseball Agreement next year. Higher standards for facilities are expected to be part of the next deal — it would not be the first time that’s happened in the history of Minor League Baseball — and while the current agreement doesn’t end until after the 2020 season, a more modern facility that meets the new requirements would need to be in place for 2021.
In other words, a deal needs to be reached soon or there won’t be enough time left to keep Midwest League baseball in Beloit.
In fact, Snappers president Dennis Conerton told the Daily News that while the team’s board of directors is 90 percent focused on building a new stadium, it is not ignoring the possibility of relocation. He says the majority of a new stadium deal has been reached, but “the last five or 10 percent of the funding” still needs to be secured.
Conerton announced in early September that the Snappers signed a memorandum of understanding with two investor groups, setting the framework for sale of the team and construction of a new stadium in downtown Beloit by the start of the 2020 season. The parties were working toward completing the deal by the end of January, but that still hasn’t happened two months later.
Conerton remains hopeful that a deal will be reached in time to keep the team in Beloit. Meanwhile, MWL president Dick Nussbaum says he hopes the team will stay put, but “time is of the essence” to resolve the issue.
You can read a lot more from both Conerton and Nussbaum in the Beloit Daily News story here.
In the 16-team Midwest League, the Snappers outdrew only the Burlington Bees in total attendance last season. Beloit drew the league’s lowest total attendance in each of the previous five seasons.