Friday, August 9, 2013

Could the Biscuits Bail?

So during the previous homestand I had a few conversations with the usual suspects around the stands and as we discussed items of Biscuit-interest, a realization hit me.

We could lose our team to Biloxi.
We surely aren't their first choice, but it could happen.

The Biloxi effort is confident that they will land a team in the Southern league. It will be an existing franchise and to that end they have hired a full time employee to make it happen. The city has conceded that they may not be ready to throw out the first pitch this April, but have been quoted as saying they hope to land a team midseason.
Proposed Beau Rivage Stadium

I think a midseason move is highly unlikely, but a team in Biloxi is almost a sure thing considering the amount of cash the city is willing to spend. That means a team on the Ms gulf coast is coming the following season, 2015.

The Biloxi crew hope to make an announcement by mid-August, but I suspect that it will be delayed until sometime around the Winter Meetings.

Pringles Generals Park
The city of Jackson Tn and the Generals front office is adamant about not moving, in spite of losing their long time sponsor Pringles. They want to spend more around the ballpark to bring in fans, which is rarely the stance of a team about to move. They need it, their attendance figures are always among the worst in the league. They have trouble drawing two thousand fans a night.

The Joe is bad off
The other candidate for relocation, the Stars of Huntsville, have become mired in local politics. I think they would have already packed up and moved if they could have, but the amount of money the city has spent to keep the ballpark up to the bare minimum level of playability has led city elders to threaten the team with legal action if the Stars try to leave.

The Stars are the main target, but they may also use their position to force the city to build a new ballpark. There are discussions about a new yard near the civic center, designed to keep the team in the city.


The Generals are signed to a PDC, player development contracts, with their major league affiliate the Mariners through 2014, the same as the Huntsville Stars with their parent club of Milwaukee. Also up after 2014 are the Cubs and Smokies, the Jacksonvile Suns and Marlins, the D-Bax and Mobile Baybears, LAD and the Chattanooga Lookouts and your Montgomery Biscuits.

The only teams NOT needing to find or re-up on their affiliations are the Miss.Braves (who own their double-A franchise) and the brand new Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

The Wahoos have a four year PDC with the Reds, which seems to be a standard thing with "new" teams. The Skitz were born in 04 and had a four year deal with Tampa, after which two year renewals have been the norm for teams in the SL, though we also got a four year extension in 2010.

DiamondJaxx/Cubs affiliate now the Generals for Seattle
So, this tells us that all the teams in the league are going to be assessing their affiliations, maybe even changing them. Teams with a desire to find new connections will likely do so, as has been done before. The last time the shuffle went down, Montgomery was under its first contract extension, and there was no doubt the affiliation wasn't going away. Now, that may not be quite so ironclad.

It also means even if we keep our team, we may end up with a different big league team sending us players.

With Biloxi now focused on fielding a team in the Southern league by April of 2015, they will have ample opportunity to lure a team. If Jackson Tn keeps the Generals and IF Huntsville isn't available due to political issues, who then goes?

Now Biscuits do fine in the attendance totals, but its a matter of economics. Since it is a business, the bottom line will paint a picture of who is likely to head to the new park built on BP oil spill money.

Lets take the Generals off the table, they say they wont move.
Lets toss out the Stars and their political issues.
The Braves own their own team, so take them out, they aren't moving.
We still have cotton on the league seal? Ouch

The four teams lowest in terms of average attendance - Mobile, Chattanooga, TnSmokies and the Biscuits. Bringing in an average of 2500-3700 fans a game, these four teams make up the heart of the Southern League. Teams with larger attendance figures have brand new parks, teams under them are the aforementioned three.

We can probably throw out Mobile too, since they have been awarded the 2015 SL AllStar Game, obviously the league office expects them to be there for the event.

I think its reasonable to say that we have at least a 33% chance of losing our team if there is any hangup with the sale of the Stars and their move from Huntsville to Biloxi.

Its not likely, but how many times have you gotten wet when the weatherman told you there was a 30% chance of rain? 
Montgomery under the Rain Turtle

1 comment:

las vegas bail said...

Our home-town ice hockey team (very successful at that) is forced to bail out on us too. It stinks. What is wrong with Las Vegas and it's local sports?