Lakeland, Florida -- The City of Lakeland and the Detroit Tigers have reached agreement that will extend the City's relationship with the organization another 20 years.
The current contract signed in 2000 expires Dec. 31, 2016. The new contract will solidify the Detroit Tigers continuing their Spring Training, their Class A Minor League operations with the Flying Tigers and their rehabilitative program at Joker Marchant Stadium and the TigerTown Complex through 2036.
"The parties approached the negotiations with a win-win attitude and I am very pleased that both the City and the Tigers were able to accomplish our respective desired outcomes. We have developed a package that is cost effective for the City and continues to support the estimated $45 million in economic benefits associated with Spring Training and additional $18 million in economic impacts from the Flying Tigers to our community. In return, the Tigers will be provided contemporary facilities designed to enhance player development and improve the fan experience so it will allow them to remain competitive with their counterparts in Major League Baseball," said City Manager Doug Thomas.
The proposed design of the complex calls for:
- Separate Major and Minor League clubhouses that will be constructed
- Improved and realigned seating areas including additional shading
- A 360-degree walk around layout to allow fans to be in constant view of the game
- Upgraded concession and new vending areas
- Expanded press box facilities in response to growing media interest with international players
- A new artificial field surface in the minor league complex
- New team cafeteria equipment
- Various improvements throughout the complex to assist in player development and rehabilitation
- Overall improved layout and security features consistent with MLB security measures
Specifics of the agreement include the following terms:
* A total of $37 million will be available for capital improvements to the Joker Marchant Stadium and Tigertown Complex, to be completed and ready for occupancy by the Tigers in January 2017. The City contemplates a bond issue for the capital costs that will be amortized from the following sources:
* The State of Florida, through the Spring Training Retention Program will fund $1 million per year for 20 years.
* The Polk County Tourist Development Council will fund an income stream capable of amortizing a total of $14,560,000, payable over 20 years, or 39.4% of project costs, with total project costs not to exceed $37 million.
* The Tigers will provide funding through the payment of $530,000 per year to the City for 20 years, with such payments taking the form of rent, coupled with a management services fee, the latter of which includes CPI adjustments every five years.
* The City will fund an estimated $190,000 per year for 20 years.
"The Detroit Tigers are thrilled this new agreement will ensure the ball club will maintain its winter home in the City of Lakeland for an unprecedented 100 years," said David Dombrowski, Tigers President, CEO and General Manager. "We are thankful and appreciative of the long-standing relationship with the City of Lakeland, Polk County and the State of Florida that in terms of years is second to none in all of Major League Baseball.