Fresno Grizzlies Negotiate Their Future

August 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Fresno Grizzlies are grinding down to the end of their season, but they may have a new opponent during the offseason. The team is struggling financially and looking to change its deal with the city.With just three home games left this season, questions still remain about the Grizzlies future at downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park.

"This a very complex negotiation and so tomorrow will be the beginning step in putting some conclusion on that," said Fresno City Councilwoman Cynthia Sterling.

On Monday, Fresno City Councilwoman Cynthia Sterling along with other city leaders will meet with triple-a baseball executives to discuss financial issues that have plagued the city and the Grizzlies franchise.

The city paid $46-million dollars to build the stadium in 2002. As part of a 30-year lease with Fresno, the Grizzlies' annual rent is $1.5-million dollars.

But with lower attendance this season and declining revenue, they're asking the city to lower it to just $500,000. "I mean if you added up every single other lease in our league, if you added them all together they wouldn't be as high as our lease," said Scott Carter with the Fresno Grizzlies.

The city has already renegotiated the Grizzlies lease. Late last year, they cut stadium rent by $50,000 dollars a month.

Both the Grizzlies and city officials said they hope to come up with another solution sometime this week, and get ready for the 2010 season. "It's been very positive so far. We've had a lot of great support from our fans in terms of telling us, making sure we know they're behind us and they want the Grizzlies to be here a long time and that's obviously our goal," said Carter, "I think in the end, it's like everything else, we're going to do what's right and it's going to be a win-win for all of us."

The Grizzlies 2010 season has already been planned. Meanwhile, city officials said after tomorrow's meeting, they'll know more about the future of Chukchansi Park.

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