Comparative Analysis of Minor League Baseball Stadiums - Peoria, IL

Faced with a proposition for a public/private partnership to redevelop a two-block area next to downtown and growing skepticism of public funding of professional sporting venues, the City of Peoria turned to PGAV for guidance.  The City was faced with a unique opportunity to have a blighted area near the heart of downtown redeveloped into a new state-of-the-art minor league baseball stadium.  It would be the new home of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league franchise – the Peoria Chiefs (now a part of the Chicago Cubs organization.)  Unfortunately, the cost of redeveloping an inter-urban site would make the project prohibitively expensive.

In order to provide City officials with a better understanding of the issues, PGAV researched similar minor league stadium projects in other communities.  In addition, PGAV evaluated the writings of several noted sports economists and presented the pro and con arguments of public participation in such ventures.  The City was presented with a synopsis of comparable stadium projects and a balanced analysis of the basic economics of such projects.

The City was armed with the information needed to make difficult decisions.  The City Council decided to assist in the development project by assembling the land and using tax increment financing to help offset the extraordinary costs of redevelopment (e.g., property acquisition, building demolition, relocation of utilities, etc.)  However, unlike most other communities, the resulting new stadium facility remained privately owned.  The City now has a new public attraction in downtown, without the long-term financial liability of owning and operating a major public facility.

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<p>Auto Zone Park in Memphis, Tennesse - Photo by Michael Cunnings</p> <p>Photo by Steven Ballegeer</p>