Sports

Triple-A baseball will come to Wichita with new downtown stadium

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Governor Jeff Colyer, and city council members announced that the New Orleans Baby Cakes, a Triple-A team and an affiliate of the Miami Marlins, has filed a relocation application to the city.

"Triple-A baseball is the highest league of Minor League Baseball. This application is subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball, Pacific Coast League, and Baseball Office of the Commissioner before the club can locate to Wichita," said Mayor Jeff Longwell.

An official decision from Minor League Baseball and the Pacific Coast League is expected later this year.

Lawrence-Dumont Stadium will be torn down within a year. The Wingnuts played their last game in the stadium on Labor Day.

The new stadium will cost $60 to $73 million. STAR bonds and a TIF district will be formed to pay for the cost of the stadium. STAR bonds capture sales tax revenue in a development area and funnel it to project costs.

The stadium will have 10,000 to 11,000 seats. The city hopes to have construction finished by 2020.

The city started working on the project three years ago. Key partners in the project were the New Orleans team ownership, Cargill, and Greater Wichita Partnership, Emprise and Spirit AeroSystems. The state of Kansas also played a part.

"This is important for the future of the state of Kansas. This is one of the great amenities, one of the great things that makes Wichita a tourist destination. It is a second home, a weekend place for families across the state and from our neighboring states. Having a Triple-A baseball team right here in Wichita will add a lot to the lifestyle and to what is going on in this great community," said Gov. Jeff Colyer.  

The attraction of affiliated baseball was identified in 2016 by Mayor Longwell as a crucial component of his quality of life initiative to rejuvenate the Arkansas River corridor with signature amenities as part of the city's strategic effort to retain existing and attract new employee talent to Wichita.

The mayor said the team will likely change their name.

Wichita has not had an affiliated team since the Double-A affiliated Wichita Wranglers left the city in 2006. Past teams to play in Wichita include the Pilots and Aeros.

Wichita is also home to the National Baseball Congress. The National Baseball Congress will play at Wichita State's Eck Stadium in 2019.


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