Search

City News Blog

rss

The latest happenings in your city government.


DETROIT TIGERS AND THE CITY OF LAKELAND REACH TERMS FOR SUCCESSOR AGREEMENT
LONGEST RUNNING SPRING TRAINING RELATIONSHIP IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CONTINUES

LAKELAND, FL (July 18, 2014) -- The City of Lakeland and the Detroit Tigers have reached agreement on the terms and conditions that will be included in a contract that will extend the City’s relationship with the organization another 20 years.  The current contract signed in 2000 expires December 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.

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “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. 

In anticipation of a new agreement, the parties have been involved in a process over the last two years that included tours of all the spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona to view best practice designs and to better understand the standards that are expected at current MLB facilities. The tours were followed up with a critical evaluation of the current configuration of Joker Marchant Stadium and the Tigertown Complex to identify the areas that would require improvements to allow the Tigers and the City to have facilities reflective of the market required for another 20 – 30 year contract period.  

“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. 

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; and overall improved layout and security features consistent with MLB security measures.

Melony Bell, Chair of the Polk County Tourist Development Council said, “Polk County has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Detroit Tigers for 78 years. With today’s announcement, we look forward to welcoming them back for another 20 years. According to the Florida Sports Foundation, the annual economic impact of the average Major League Baseball spring training operation in Florida is $47 million. We feel strongly that the Tigers have far more impact than that. Whether a Tigers fan chooses to come to Polk County for a month, or just drive to Lakeland for a day of baseball, all of our residents benefit from sales generated when these tourists are here.” 

R. Todd Danzler, Chairman of the Polk Board of County Commissioners said, “This announcement is great news for Polk County. We appreciate the Detroit Tigers’ long-term commitment to Lakeland. The Tigers bring more than just spring baseball to the county. Their presence through their minor league affiliate, the Lakeland Flying Tigers and other uses of the ballpark bring crowds to Joker Marchant Stadium year round. Undoubtedly, our hotels, rental homes, restaurants and other recreational facilities benefit during the spring season when the Tigers are in our community.”

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. 

Dombrowski said, “We believe the extensive enhancements to TigerTown will offer the loyal and passionate fans in Lakeland and the legions of Tigers fans that travel to Florida with a one-of-a-kind Spring Training experience. Lakeland plays a significant role year-round in the Tigers baseball operations and the planned renovations will provide the players with a state-of-the-art development and rehabilitation facility, certain to be amongst the best in all of baseball.”

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “We truly appreciate the partnerships with the Detroit Tigers, the State of Florida, the Central Florida Tourist and Development Council, and the City Commission for their financial support for the successor agreement.  I would also like to thank our local legislative delegation, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, and local baseball supporters John and Becky Rodda, Robert Puterbaugh and others who helped the City in our efforts to amend the State's Spring Training Retention Bill which was a critical component in our negotiations.”

“Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers, the City of Lakeland and Polk County for extending the longest spring training relationship between a community and a Major League Baseball team," said Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb.  "This lease extension is a salute to the professionalism of all parties involved and the heritage and tradition both have enjoyed for almost eight decades.  This agreement will continue their partnership to over 100 years of a mutually beneficial relationship.  This unmatched partnership is a good example of Florida's strong sports industry and ensures Major League Baseball Spring Training will remain in the area for future generations to enjoy."

 

-END-


On Wednesday, February 27, Governor Rick Scott will hold his 16th “Let’s Get to Work Day” at the Detroit Tigers Spring Training Baseball facility. At 11:00 a.m. the Governor will hold a press conference regarding funding for Spring Training Baseball in Florida.

WHAT:           Press Conference and Work Day

WHEN:          9:15 a.m.        Grounds Crew

11:00 a.m.     ***Press Conference***

11:30 a.m.      Parking

12:30 p.m.      Programs

2:00 p.m.        Concession Stands

3:00 p.m.        Clubhouse

LOCATION: 

Joker Merchant Stadium

2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd

Lakeland, FL 33805

 


Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is just around the corner and the boys are back in town!  Your 2012 American League Champion Detroit Tigers are ready for spring and ready to tee it up with you!

Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing has once again teamed up with the Detroit Tigers and the City of Lakeland to present the 18th Annual Major League Scramble. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, February 21st, at Cleveland Heights Golf Course in Lakeland, Florida.

This unique event offers you a rare opportunity to spend a day on the course with the Tiger legends of yesterday and 2012 ALCS Championship team.  The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit local youth organizations and the Common Ground Park Endowment Fund on behalf of The Detroit Tigers Foundation of Florida and the City of Lakeland respectively.     

Join us and your favorite Tigers in celebrating 77 years of Detroit Tiger Spring Training in Lakeland!

Please complete the ENTRY FORM and mail along with payment to the address provided.  You may fax your entry form, but please follow with prompt payment by mail.  Entry fees includes lunch, a goodie bag, awards reception following the tournament, and a tremendous selection of raffle prizes!

If you have any questions regarding the event, please feel free to contact our Tournament Director, Brock Witmyer at (863) 834-2379 or Bill Tinsley at (863) 860-2176.   We look forward to seeing you at the 18th Annual Major League Scramble. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Okay, let’s make sure we have the date and location down.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at Cleveland Heights Golf Course, 2900 Buckingham Avenue, Lakeland, Florida.  Please find additional facility information by calling (863) 834-2377.

My significant other is not a golfer, but is it okay to bring him/her along?

We will be more than happy to assist you with finding wonderful activities for your spouse/significant other. They are certainly invited to attend the events special activities including the luncheon, and dinner reception following the golf scramble. 

Please call with request of additional guests.

Which celebrity will join my group?

While we cannot guarantee a particular celebrity for your group, you may place a request.  If at all possible we will honor that request provided the celebrity is in attendance and an earlier reservation did not request the same celebrity.

Are there contests on the course?

You bet!  We will have a number of contests out on the course this year, including the traditional putting contest, longest drive and closest to the pin.

How about raffle prizes?

We will have plenty of varied raffle prizes. You won’t be disappointed by the large assortment of prizes available to win.

What is the schedule for the day?

10:30 a.m.      Registration Opens

11:30 a.m.       Lunch

1:00 p.m.         Shotgun start

6:00 p.m.         Reception, awards presentation and raffle ticket drawings