On Tuesday the Lee County commissioners vote on whether to approve the deal for upgrading the Twins park, if this passes it almost certainly closes the door on the Nats moving into the Red Sox old facility. Great news for those of us rooting for the Kissimmee site, not so good news leverage wise for the Lerners as they are running out of options.
The other player in this is the Washington Nationals. They are interested in moving their spring training operations into City of Palms Park. They had the third worst attendance for all of Florida’s spring training teams this year, averaging only 4,880 fans a game. Their stadium is over an hour’s drive from any other spring training site and they just don’t attract the fans.http://www.news-press.com/article/20121030/OPINION/310300007/1002/NEWS01/Twins-deal-looks-good-first-blush?odyssey=nav
That changes in Lee County. They will be within eight miles of two other spring training teams — the Red Sox and Twins. But with no money left to fund the team through tourism tax dollars, a new revenue stream would have to be created, or the Nationals would have to fund any stadium improvements themselves. The latter seems highly unlikely.
There are no guarantees, but the county needs to be absolutely certain this long-term Twins package is financially sound and the risk is minimal. It can’t afford to be wrong. As negotiations continue with the Nationals, the county is in no position to cut a deal that does not put most of the financial burden on the baseball team. We can’t afford anything less.