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The City of El Paso and the MountainStar Sports Group Will Enter a Partnership: What does that mean?

One artist's rendering of what the El Paso downtown ballpark may look like. (image courtesy of ballparkdigest.com)

Now that the city council has passed a proposal to build a downtown ballpark, a lot of people are wondering, ‘who will pay for what?’

Since this is a public/private partnership, the city had to draw up a term sheet with MountainStar Sports Group, the private group poised to deliver a Triple-A team to El Paso.

Nothing is legally binding yet, as no formal contracts have been approved.

Today, the El Paso Times laid out some key agreements on the term sheet between the city and MountainStar.

  • Park ownership:  The ballpark would be owned by the city.
  • Public facility:  Specific areas will be available to the public when the stadium is not under contract to the team or other entities.
  • Team ownership:  MountainStar will own, manage and operate the team as a minor league baseball team Triple-A franchise and operate the stadium.
  • Budgeted cost:  The cost is not to exceed $50 million (including demolition, site preparation, land acquisition and construction). Any surplus would be used to build parking or deposited into the park’s capital repairs fund or the debt service fund.
  • Description:  Natural turf; up to 9,000 seats; 20 to 30 luxury suites; 250 to 500 club seats; team office space; retail store.
  • Schedule:  Before the start of the 2014 Triple-A season (April 2014).
  • Non-compete:  Except for existing contract with the Diablos for Cohen Stadium, the city cannot operate or allow others to operate Cohen or any other facility that would accommodate affiliated or independent professional baseball. The city would agree not to extend the Diablo’s contract for the use of Cohen beyond April 16, 2016. The city would also agree not to develop, finance or facilitate the development of any other outdoor concert venue in Downtown El Paso, except for the proposed soccer stadium.
  • Lease:  The group would lease the ballpark from the city and manage and operate it.
  • Term:  The team would play all pre-season, regular season and postseason home games at the park for an initial term of 25 years, with the option to extend the term for three consecutive five-year terms. The team may not relocate to another city during the first 25 years.
  • Rent:  During the initial 25-year term, the club would pay a fixed rental fee of $200,000 a year ($5 million). Beginning in the second year, $150,000 of the rent will be deposited into a capital repairs reserve fund for the park. The two parties will negotiate rent fees for any contract extensions.
  • Revenues:  The club will market, control and retain all revenues relating to the team, including sponsorships, concessions and merchandise. Restrictions will be placed on naming rights and advertising revenues.
  • Parking:  Parking will be provided by the city and privately owned parking lots and garages near the stadium. The city will provide about 200 parking spaces now in the city-owned lot by City Hall at no cost to the club. The city will also provide at least 300 parking spaces in the convention center and Union Pacific parking garages, for which the club will pay the city $1 per space ($71 for a season parking pass). Additional parking revenues will be split between the city and the club.
  • Naming rights, advertising:  The club will have exclusive rights to market, sell and retain all naming rights and advertising revenues within the stadium.
  • Concessions, merchandise:  The club will select and set contract terms for the stadium concessions and retain all concession revenue. The club will retain all merchandise revenue from all events at the stadium.
  • Event expenses:  The club will be responsible for all game-day expenses and other expenses hosted by the team or the league.
  • Operating expenses and maintenance:  The club will be responsible for all operating expenses and routine maintenance and repairs to the stadium.
  • Capital repairs:  During the initial term, the city will be responsible for paying for all capital repairs and improvements to the stadium using the capital repairs reserve fund or other city resources.
  • Utilities:  The city and club will split the water and sewer costs, and the club will pay for all other utilities.
  • Municipal services:  Customary police, traffic control, fire prevention and emergency medical services outside the ballpark will be paid for by the city; the club will pay for all services inside the ballpark.
  • Ticket surcharge:  A 10-cent-per-ticket surcharge will be paid to the city. The city will not impose any additional targeted or special taxes, fees or assessments on the club.
  • Team name:  The team will include “El Paso” as part of its name.
  • Team transfer:  The team will not relocate to another city during the initial 25-year term.  If the majority interest of the team is sold, the new owner must assume all obligations under the agreement and agree not to move during the initial term.

Hopefully, that can clear up some things for folks who are a little confused.

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