Wichita not ready to lose TL team to Springdale | Rock Candy

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wichita not ready to lose TL team to Springdale

Posted on Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 4:39 PM

Springdale will be holding a vote next month on extending a one-cent sales tax that would build a $33 million stadium, one that could serve as the new home for the Texas League's Wichita Wranglers. Perry Webb, head of Springdale's Chamber of Commerce has said as much recently. Here's how they see it in Wichita.

The Wranglers, the Double-A farm team of the Kansas City Royals, have a contract with Wichita that goes through the 2009 season.

A provision of the contract says that if the Wranglers break it, the city has 30 days to buy the team at fair market value.

The city might consider that.

"We are doing our own research, too," said Jessica Johnson, marketing director for the city. "We're not at a point where we could say what we're going to do. We're not there yet. It's been a matter of discussion, and we've been talking about it internally."

She added that the city considers the Wranglers a vital part of the downtown revitalization that includes the arena.

"We feel that our Wranglers are so important to our community, and this is a sports town," Johnson said. "Losing them is not an option for us."

And Bill Valentine, the Travelers' general manager, told the Wichita Eagle that all he's heard about the possible move to Springdale is what he's read on the Internet and in newspapers.

"It wouldn't have any bearing on the Arkansas Travelers," Valentine said. "They would probably outdraw us; they are an up-and-coming area, and they don't have any professional sports."


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