City of Fresno working on deal to sell Grizzlies team

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The ball club and the city confirm a possible deal to sell the Fresno Grizzlies is in the works. (KFSN)

The Fresno Grizzlies and the city of Fresno are hoping a deal to sell the baseball team is near. One apparent hang up is negotiating the cost of repairs and maintenance to the Downtown stadium.

The Triple-A baseball team has been for sale for about three years. While a team can be a valuable asset, any sale is complicated by the financial arrangements the city has with the team.

The ball club and the city confirm a possible deal to sell the Fresno Grizzlies is in the works.

"We are negotiating with a new buyer, they are doing their due diligence, so, we are hopefully close, but again, it isn't done until it's done," city manager Bruce Rudd said.

"I think it's been no surprise to anyone, we've been for sale for a number of years," general manager Derek Franks said. "We are not at a point where we can say it's imminent or not, but we are working with a group. There is a discussion between us and the city of Fresno."

One hang up to the deal is figuring out how much any new owner will have to spend in keeping the stadium in good condition. While the city is responsible for structural issues, all the rest from air conditioning to rubber mats in the dugouts is up to the team to pay for.

"Part of the due diligence is seeing what needs to be done to keep the building up," Franks said.

The 15-year-old stadium is said to be in pretty good shape. The other issue is how much any team will have to pay the city to play.

The current lease of $750,000 a year is still high by Minor League standards. The stadium is costing the city more than $3 million a year to pay off the bond to build the $50 million structure.

Rudd expects no matter who buys the team, the city will still face a financial burden.

"It will continue to be a budget issue," he said. "It just depends on how you look at the stadium, as an amenity or a profit or at least a break even, I think we've gotten past that point we know it's not going to break even."

Details on how much the team might sell for, and what kind of deal the city could make, and who the prospective buyers might be are all confidential.

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