FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This opening day, there's a lot of questions surrounding Chukchansi Park. Most everyone wants to know: with the casino's future in limbo, will the tribe still have naming rights?
As of now, Chukchansi is paid up, which means they're in the black until the end of baseball season. But what will happen when that bill comes around again?
The final cuts and final counts are on as the preps for opening day are underway. The excitement is building at Chukchansi Park. There's a new affiliation. There's a new financial outlook following last season, which was one of the team's best monetary years. But what's weighing on everyone's mind is what happened in October of 2014. There was a fight, a raid, an evacuation. Finally, a federal judge forced Chukchansi Casino to close. As of now the tribe has a point person working with the Grizzlies.
Derek Franks, the Grizzlies general manager said, "Now, operating wise, we have the payment and our season is not affected and we have some time to let them sort things out and open the casino which gives us some time to live out the contract which has a number of years left on it."
As for what happens at the end of the season when the renewal fee is due - well the Grizzlies say they have no choice but to let it play out and give the two tribal factions time to sort out their problems. It's an exclusive deal, and as of now there's no backup plans to change the park's name. But, everyone is watching and waiting to see what happens to the casino.
Fresno's assistant city manager Renena Smith said, "I do understand that the baseball club has been in discussions with the tribe and they are feeling positive that they will receive the funds but none of us are sitting on our laurels about that but we're continuing to have discussions about what other options might be."
For now, the Grizzlies just want to play ball and play it well.
Franks said, "We certainly have ways to work through cash flow issues that we have had in the past if um but we've got our season covered we've got several months and feel good about where we're at now."
The Chukchansi Casino case will be in back in court Friday.
Naming and gaming questions surrounding Chukchansi Park
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