Deal would bring independent baseball to Ottawa Stadium
Can-Am league has proposal to field team in May 2015
An Ottawa city staff report is recommending the Ottawa Stadium host another independent league team, rather than a team affiliated with a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced late Tuesday a staff report to be presented to the city’s financial and economic development committee Oct. 1 recommends approving an offer from the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball to lease the stadium.
Under the terms of the proposal, Ottawa would have a team by May 2015.
“I am pleased that this challenging two-year process is coming to fruition,” said Watson in a statement.
“Our goal was to secure a long-term professional baseball tenant for this important purpose-built facility, and do so while getting the best value for taxpayers.”
A Can-Am franchise, the Ottawa Rapidz, lasted only one season in 2008 before folding.
The league has two other Canadian teams in Quebec City and Trois Rivieres, Que., along with three in the northeastern United States.
Better plan than mothballing, demolishing
City staff said this option is preferable to leaving the stadium empty as they do now or knocking it down.
The news release said a team would bring 50 home games to the Stadium every year, plus another 50 to 75 recreation and entertainment events made possible with the facility's upkeep.
The city would still be responsible for day-to-day management of the Stadium, according to the release.
Ottawa had been trying to attract a team affiliated with a MLB franchise, specifically the Toronto Blue Jays, for years.
The news release said there was a bid from a AA-level team on the table, but it would have cost the city over $40 million.
No price tag was given for the Can-Am proposal.
The city has been without a minor league baseball team since the Ottawa Lynx moved in 2007.
If approved by the committee, the proposal would go to city council Oct. 9.