Kannapolis city leaders talking baseball, and moving the stadium - | WBTV Charlotte

Kannapolis city leaders talking baseball, and moving the stadium

KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) -

Could the Intimidators be looking for a new home in Kannapolis? City leaders are exploring the possibility of moving the team to a new stadium that would be part of the new downtown area.

The Kannapolis City Council heard the first phase of a ballpark stadium planning study regarding the Kannapolis Intimidators Monday night at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The study evaluated the Kannapolis market area and its ability to support minor league baseball.

The study found the Kannapolis Intimidators has the potential to attract significantly greater numbers of people to enjoy minor league baseball.

The Kannapolis Intimidators is the minor league baseball team affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. The Class A team will celebrate their 21st season this year. There are 167 minor league baseball teams in the U.S. but only 30 are Single A.

The team plays at CMC-Northeast Stadium off Lane Street in Kannapolis. Because the stadium is located within a protected watershed zone that limits development growth, the stadium property cannot be expanded nor can additional supportive development occur on the remaining vacant property.

The stadium was jointly built in 1995 by the Rowan County-Kannapolis Regional Sports Authority, attracting a team that relocated from Spartanburg, SC. The City acquired full ownership of the stadium in 2012. The team is locally owned by Smith Family Baseball who has a lease with the City which expires in December 2016.

The stadium currently seats 4,700. Average per game attendance in 2014 was 1,925, with a total season attendance of 119,377.

Due to the age of the stadium, deferred maintenance, and the pending renewal of the lease between the Smith Family and the City of Kannapolis, city staff is exploring the feasibility of renovating the stadium or building a new stadium.

Modern baseball facilities focus far less on fixed seats, allow for varied seating configurations at different price points, and provide more group gathering areas for fans to enjoy socializing and walking around.

With the purchase of 46 acres in downtown Kannapolis city officials would like to explore the possibility of a baseball stadium in the downtown core which would be a “game changer” – a venue that would bring a significant number of people to downtown to not only attend athletic events but to shop, eat and live.

The City hired Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D) Venues, who are experienced sports facility consultants to conduct a study on the ability of the Kannapolis regional market to support a minor league baseball team. B&D reviewed all of the Class A minor league markets in the U.S.; and minor league markets demographically and regionally comparable to the Kannapolis region.

The Kannapolis regional market is defined as being a 30-minute drive time to the current stadium.

The report found that among all 30 Class A minor league baseball markets, the Kannapolis regional market has a higher total population and higher level of economic activity than 75% of the Class A markets, and has a higher household income than two-thirds of the Class A markets.

The Kannapolis regional market is ranked 3rd in total population, 6th in total retail expenditures and 8th in average household income among the ten most demographically comparable minor league markets.

The ten comparison minor league markets are: Greensboro, NC; Comstock Park, MI; Greenville, SC; Metairie, LA; Zebulon, NC; Fort Myers, FL; Modesto, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Reading, PA and Syracuse, NY.

The study also looked at markets in the South that support two minor league baseball teams within a 60-minute drive time (similar to the Intimidators and the Charlotte Knights), with no major league baseball franchise, and a regional population of more than 1.5 million within this drive time.

The four regional comparison markets are: Columbus/Dayton, OH; Raleigh-Durham/Zebulon, NC, Lansing/Comstock Park, MI; and Nashville TN/Bowling Green, KY. Among these four regional comparison markets, the Charlotte/Kannapolis market ranks 2nd in population, retail expenditures, and average household income.

Jason Thompson, Regional Vice President of B&D pointed out that these factors are important because baseball is not just for baseball fans anymore. Attending a baseball game has become family oriented and a social entertainment option for people.

Factors such as household size, household income, attendee ages and disposable income impact the potential market size for minor league baseball.

Thompson further commented attendance from 2011 to 2013 at the Kannapolis Intimidators was 132,264 or approximately 19% of the market population. The national average capture rate of Class A markets is 58%. B&D concluded through their three comparable analyses that with marketing and an appropriate stadium, Kannapolis has the potential to double its annual ballgame attendance.

The report further concluded with the expected population growth in the City over the next several years the market for baseball should continue to be strong.

Council approved spending $20,000 for Phase II of the study which will evaluate the economics of a new stadium versus renovating the current stadium, including a building program (size and seating capacities), a project development budget, financial analysis, and economic benefits analysis. The study will be done jointly with the strategic planning of the Downtown Revitalization Project.

Phase II of the baseball study will be presented to City Council later this spring.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Gun brought to West Rowan High by student, stolen by another student

    Gun brought to West Rowan High by student, stolen by another student

    Friday, December 15 2017 4:43 PM EST2017-12-15 21:43:57 GMT

    Two students have been charged and suspended from school after an incident at West Rowan High School. According to the Rowan Sheriff's report, one student brought a handgun to school and was carrying in his book bag. 

    More >>

    Two students have been charged and suspended from school after an incident at West Rowan High School. According to the Rowan Sheriff's report, one student brought a handgun to school and was carrying in his book bag. 

    More >>
  • Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelist’s fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

    Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelist’s fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

    Friday, December 15 2017 4:19 PM EST2017-12-15 21:19:08 GMT
    Jessica Hahn in 1988, photographed by the Observer for a “one year later” PTL story. Today she says, “My faith is strong. ... I still believe in God more than ever. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his mess.” (Mark B. Sluder Observer file photo)Jessica Hahn in 1988, photographed by the Observer for a “one year later” PTL story. Today she says, “My faith is strong. ... I still believe in God more than ever. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his mess.” (Mark B. Sluder Observer file photo)
    It’s been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it’s only been in the last two years that she’s finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it’s affected the rest of her life. She says she’s angry at Bakker, founder of the onetime PTL empire near Charlotte, for using his power and his image as a man of God to manipulate her, then a ...More >>
    It’s been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it’s only been in the last two years that she’s finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it’s affected the rest of her life. She says she’s angry at Bakker, founder of the onetime PTL empire near Charlotte, for using his power and his image as a man of God to manipulate her, then a ...More >>
  • CPCC Culinary program bakes cookies, brownies for US Troops home for holidays

    CPCC Culinary program bakes cookies, brownies for US Troops home for holidays

    Friday, December 15 2017 3:58 PM EST2017-12-15 20:58:55 GMT

    On Dec. 15, they will bake between 3,000 and 4,000 cookies and brownies for troops returning home for the holidays.

    More >>

    On Dec. 15, they will bake between 3,000 and 4,000 cookies and brownies for troops returning home for the holidays.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly