Bring MLB To Raleigh

An interesting statistic that I just learned on Wikipedia is that the American Football league in the UK is almost exactly the same size as MLS in terms of revenue. That is your useless fact of the day.

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TL/DR: you should read the whole thing, since his whole point is that the devil is in the details (and how it’s communicated).

But @daviddonovan that’s true, I guess it’s still pretty irresponsible of the committee to be so definitive and absolute about premature assumptions or details that could very well change in a couple of years. (glares at DOLRT) Hype may be nice, but I guess it’s important to only build as much hype as you can control without possibly getting run over by your own hype train.

David, It’s just interesting that you are so critical of what we’ve put together. We are literally trying to do good for our city with no catch. We’ve put a ton of time into everything we’ve done, all at absolutely zero profit. Also, we’ve done as much as we can to keep our names out of it so it was more about the community and more about baseball than anyone trying to get notoriety.

Whether you like our method or not, whether you .agree with what we decided to focus on or not, we’ve used the platform to raise money and connect organization and companies to help fix up a field in East Raleigh and help the Boys Club jumpstart a baseball program they’ve been struggling to get going. And we’re going to continue to do that and replicate this throughout our region.

Obviously you would have done things differently. That’s fine. We have a plan and its not just about bringing MLB to Raleigh. Its about bringing people together and celebrating baseball in our region while raising money for our neighbors in need.

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I personally applaud all of the effort you and others have put into this and as much as I’ve read all of the previous comments, I also don’t understand the negativity. I certainly understand expressing the challenges to bringing an MLB franchise to Raleigh but I don’t understand how what you’re doing is hurting anyone. I would be insulted in your shoes and I think you’re doing a good job of expressing your perspective and mission.

I’m actually not a huge fan of baseball, but I am a huge fan of Raleigh and I love this movement. One thing I’ve learned in life is you will never gain the approval and support of everyone. You clearly have a lot of supporters in the short time you’ve started this and I think you should be proud of that.

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I completely support & agree with you Lou ! You said everything very polite & very well said ! Thanks for supporting The Boys Club ! Our two sons played baseball , basketball , soccer at The Boys Club . The Boys Club really helped them . Both received athletic scholarships , baseball / track in D-2 division colleges .

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Agreed! It would be a dream to have MLB here in Raleigh. Thanks for your efforts! :baseball:

I’m going to try to attend the event on the 13th.

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@keita So this is kind of what I was getting at. I raised some very specific concerns, like the fact that there’s a 10-story building going up on one of the proposed stadium sites, or that we don’t actually know how an MLB team in Raleigh would impact the Bulls. Rather than addressing those concerns in any substantive way, the response is

Blockquote David, It’s just interesting that you are so critical of what we’ve put together.

And, by the way, I think it’s awesome that this campaign is donating any proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club. I really do. But that doesn’t mean that the campaign should be immune from any concerns people raise about where this ultimately leads.

If a campaign can’t constructively engage with concerns like, “Hey, you may not have been aware that they’re actually building a 10-story building on one of those sites,” it’s not a good omen for what the engagement is going to be like if we ever get to the hard questions of financing a project that would probably cost more than $600 million.

And that is “the catch,” and the thing that makes me skittish about the way this is being approached. I am actually a huge baseball fan, and I would personally love having an MLB team in Raleigh. But 30+ years of intense baseball fandom have also opened my eyes about what it takes for a city to land a baseball team and how, in city after city in America, tens of billions of dollars that could have been used to fund all kinds of worthwhile public projects have instead been misdirected to subsidize very profitable private businesses for the private benefit of some of the county’s wealthiest people.

So this is very much a concern grounded in principle, and something can’t really be a principle if it’s held only when it’s convenient. Not everyone’s a hockey or soccer fan, and it’s super easy to say, “Don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars on public money on that league I don’t care about.” But when we’re talking about MLB, then it’s “Don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars of public money on this league that I do care about, very very much, because it’s not in the community’s best interest to do so.”

In practice, if we don’t commit tons of public money to finance a stadium, an MLB team won’t come here. As a baseball fan, I’ve made my peace with the fact that it’s not a trade worth making or a principle worth sacrificing.

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For those of you who support the grassroots movement to put Raleigh in the conversation for an MLB team, we are hosting a little kickoff day party at Trophy Maywood this Saturday from 1-4pm.

The event is rain or shine (we have the parking lot and the entire brewing floor booked just in case).

All vendors at the event are putting a portion of their profits towards fixing up the Boys Clubs field in East Raleigh. We had a ton of companies reach out to be a part of it but selected those who were willing to help the cause.

Here’s what will be there:

  • MLB Raleigh merch and volunteer signups

  • MLB Raleigh x Trophy Collab Beer release (Play Ball! Pilsner)

  • Longleaf Swine BBQ serving up the food

  • Two Roosters serving up ice cream

  • DJ Nap Wright with the music

  • Family Syle NC providing family activities (create your own Cracker Jacks & design your own team jersey)

  • Baseball Card photo booth built by The Assembly / Raleigh Architecture

  • Sign Up and interest booth for Raleigh’s new adult Sandlot League

  • A giant petition letter to Commissioner Manfred that you can sign

Regardless of whether you like baseball or not, it should be a fun little day party to raise some money for our community. Hope to see you out there.

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Lou , Sounds Like A Real Winner To Me ! Thanks !

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Dude - its a booster club. I don’t think they are required to have all the answers to your highly specific concerns. You are over thinking it.

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And, yeah, I get that, I do. But in pretty much all of the cases where I’m offering some critiques, the critique is that these plans are actually too specific, and really ought be less specific, not more so. Most obviously, they’ve drawn up some incredibly specific renderings for stadiums, three of which are on privately owned land, which really undermines the whole “Hey, man, we’re not trying to get bogged down in details just yet” argument.

In one of those plans (The Old Cargill Mill), they’ve literally got a tailgating lot proposed on what is currently the site of a predominantly African-American church, and a predominantly Hispanic church, both of which do tremendously good work for the community. I’m going to assume that no one involved in the project reached out to either church to ask them if they would like to see their house of worship to be leveled to make room for a parking lot for a baseball stadium. That’s the most egregious example, but these sorts of thing exist in each of the renderings.

Look, if the point here is really just to raise some money for the Boys Club (which is an excellent cause that I wholeheartedly support) and help promote Trophy’s new baseball-themed beer (I love beer, and Trophy) and get some publicity out there for Raleigh in national media, then that all seems great, and I’m all for it. But none of those things require drawing up proposals for bulldozing churches and stuff. You could just say, “If this thing starts building momentum, then we can start working through some of the tricky stuff,” which is already the position the group takes regarding questions they don’t want to deal with anyway.

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This movement we’ve started is an effort to state our case as a viable market for an expansion MLB franchise. Reaching that ultimate goal requires several things to happen: the league (current team owners) to actually endorse expansion, an ownership group, corporate support, a stadium, funding for said stadium, and a market to sustain it all.

They’re all big hurdles, but our current focus is on revealing the market as sustainable and viable. Too many people have the default list of cities as expansion candidates because…well…uh…they’re just the obvious choices, duh! What we’re trying to do is to get people thinking, “wait, what about Raleigh? Why couldn’t this work here? Our population, our income, our growth trajectory put us in line with (or ahead of) the other potential markets.”

Among other questions we knew would come up when we started this movement was, “where would this hypothetical team play?” So, we set out to illustrate some hypothetical stadium locations to get people thinking about possibilities. The level of detail was intended to spark ideas and conversations about what people would like (or dislike) in a stadium. “How could we incorporate mass transit into these complexes? Would people want to tailgate like they do for college football? Would people want a stadium built in to a mixed-use community like NH? Could people live/work by the stadium and pay premium rents to help with funding? Do people like the idea of adjacent green spaces or plazas?”

I assure you there are no current building permits for stadiums at any of these sites. But, if we didn’t illustrate some possibilities, I believe our efforts to energize the community on the idea of MLB in Raleigh would be lacking. Just like our illustration of other metrics, we’re trying to generate excitement and awareness that our market really is a sleeping giant that slots in with the list of other “usual suspect” candidate cities.

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So you’re saying that we shouldn’t the the illustrations literally?

It’s fun to try and imagine where a stadium could fit, and dream about the possibilities. The whole NCFC MLS push brings the whole idea into perspective. Hopefully the city can learn some things through watching Malik’s process. Maybe and we’ll all be a lot smarter for seeing what he does wrong or right and use that towards a push for MLB.

For an MLB stadium I’d bet on the area South of the I-40/S Saunders or Wilmington street intersections. It would take some assemblage work and buying out existing buildings/uses. I think there’s tremendous potential for the areas south of DTR. After that I think you start getting further out and it could go in any direction.

Personally I’d be happy just to have a minor league team close to the city. I had season tickets to the Bulls for several years but it just gets to be such a long haul to get out there.

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I don’t think you do get it. These guys are trying to generate buzz and get the right people in the conversation. If this ever happens in Raleigh, I doubt any of the current team has the background to be heavily involved. I could be wrong, but I see this as a group of people who are just trying to make sure Raleigh gets a good look when MLB decides to expand. You can’t expect them to have this perfect plan where they’ve contacted every property owner adjacent to potential stadium sites.

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I think it might be helpful to step back and clarify how exactly MLB franchises are awarded. The idea that MLB awards franchises to cities is a polite fiction; really MLB awards franchises to ownership groups of rich people, and it won’t award a franchise to any ownership group that doesn’t have a stadium plan in place. But if you don’t have an ownership group in place willing to plunk down $1B+ for expansion fees, then literally nothing else matters.

The situation with Steve Malik and MLS is probably a good illustration of how this works. MLS isn’t going to award a franchise to Raleigh per se, it’s (perhaps) going to award a franchise to Steve Malik, who would then base it in Raleigh, and Malik has already gone through the necessary legwork of acquiring the land on which a stadium could realistically sit, assuming he can finance it. If an MLB team ever came to Raleigh, that’s how it would happen, not because Rob Manfred and MLB decided that Raleigh was a great market.

So, in case this point wasn’t clear, I’m not expecting the group to come up with a perfect stadium plan or that they should go around contacting property owners. My point is that painting stadiums on maps of other people’s neighborhoods is an inherently bad idea that is not worth pursuing, period, and it only becomes worse when one of the proposals involves building a parking lot on what is currently the site of two churches that serve minority communities. Those are the sorts of problems you run into when you try to re-engineer other people’s communities, which is something that has actually happened a lot in this country.

Ironically, I think the effort to draw up cool stadium renderings actually does the exact opposite of what the group had intended: it shows just how extremely difficult it would be to build an MLB stadium in Raleigh proper. Three of these plans would not have survived even the most fleeting contact with reality, and the Penmarc proposal is now permanently off the table now that Kane and Malik are going to develop in into something else.

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Absolutely correct…but if you’re one of these billionaires looking to get into the sports ownership game, wouldn’t you want to know whether you’re investing in a market that’s engaged and excited to consume your product? If you’re the league, wouldn’t you want to know the degree to which the community is bought in and supportive of baseball? I’m sure Bruce Sherman, Derek Jeter, et al wished the Miami community were more interested in the Marlins…not to mention Manfred. (That empty ballpark on opening day in a city that big is a pretty bad look).

Just like any other large investment, the investors are looking for a viable market…and that’s precisely what we’re working to demonstrate.

As for the suggestion of re-engineering neighborhoods, I’d note that this entire site revolves around our opinions of how DTR should be developed. We all talk about buildings we’d like to see come or go, what should one day take the place of Central Prison (81.2 exercise), what should be included at Dix Park, how we would redraw the R-Line, how we would redesign intersections and streets, etc. etc. (And, for the record, those tailgate lots shaded in lavender are behind the churches).

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MLB will never give Bill Gates a team to plant in North Dakota, period. There’s more moving parts than who has the biggest investment dollars to throw around.

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Why would you automatically twist his words to the extreme? He wrote a well thought out and truthful reply. I’m not trying to be harsh, but a few people on this board are extremely naive when it comes to sports franchises and the full contact sport that is the business side of this. I have followed this side of sports for years, as it’s an interesting sideshow.

I also understand the desire to start interest in the community for this, but this board should be able to tolerate a dose of the blunt reality. It’s a forum.

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Sorry, I wasn’t trying to twist anyone’s words. I just have a hard time believing factors from the city like population, travel for visiting teams, community interest etc. carry less weight than the person writing the check. I very well could be wrong, the only team sport I follow is ice hockey, because I’ve played my whole life. If you have any articles I can read about this topic that would be great, I am always looking to learn something new.

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It’s not that those things would carry less weight than the people (and these are all groups of people rather than a single person) writing the check, it’s just that having the ability to write a big enough check to cover the expansion fee is the entry-level requirement every applicant needs to even clear the first step in the process.

Maury Brown of Forbes is probably the best writer out there on this topic. Here’s something he wrote back in January that gives a very detailed analysis of what it takes to put a team in a new city, whether via expansion or relocation. It is quite wonky, but it’s a very good and realistic guide.

One thing that Maury mentions only in passing is that on top of coming up with roughly $1 billion for an expansion fee (if this were an expansion and not a relocation), an ownership group would need to finance the construction of a new stadium that would easily run north of $600 million, possibly much more. Invariably, the first place ownership groups go to look for money is to local governments in search of a hefty public subsidy, which is not great.

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