BayBears leaving Mobile?

According to reports, an Arizona investment group has acquired the Mobile BayBears (AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels in the Southern League) and is willing to move the team elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the BayBears are the only team the Southern League is willing to approve a possible move for.

An investment group BallCorps, LLC had talks with Madison County in Alabama. The main city of that county is Huntsville…. Yes, the city that was home to the Stars for years. But the team played at Joe Davis Stadium, actually more a dump than a stadium, and eventually moved to Biloxi to become the Shuckers.

The City of Madison has “expressed a willingness to construct a state-of-the-art ballpark.”
But next to Madison County, cities like Baton Rouge and Savannah are also in the running.

Madison County roughly has 300,000 inhabitants. Is that enough to support an AA team? Very likely it is. Other cities of the Southern League have even less than 100,000. Only Jacksonville (800,000) has more. But cities like Pearl MS (M-Braves), Biloxi (Shuckers) and Jackson TN average a population between 40,000 and 70,000.
So when it comes to supporting, Madison County could be a viable candidate. So are Baton Rouge LA and Savannah GA. Of the three candidates, Savannah has the least inhabitants with 146,000 but more than enough to support an AA team.

According to reports, the goal of Ballcorps LLC is to purchase a team, move it to one of the aforementioned cities and sell it again after five or six years.

Even though a previous group did not manage to buy the BayBears and move it to Baton Rouge as the deal fell through, the future doesn’t look good for organized ball in Mobile. In 2011 the BayBears still attracted over 200,000 fans bit since then the number of spectators is in a free fall with an absolute low in the past two seasons when they lured only 96,000 fans. Not numbers to keep a team in town.

 

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