by Eden Laikin
The owners of the LI Ducks have been chosen to bring a minor league team to Nassau County and operate a County-owned ballpark as part of County Executive Ed Mangano’s vision to create a first-class sports-entertainment destination center at the County’s Hub.
Mangano announced today that Nassau County’s Ballpark Request-for-Proposal (RFP) Committee has selected a bid from LI Ducks owner Frank Boulton to bring an Atlantic League team to Nassau County to start play in 2013. Negotiations are expected to begin this week to reach a revenue sharing agreement.
“Attracting a baseball team to Nassau County will create jobs while providing an affordable family-fun destination for our residents,” County Executive Mangano said. “Rather than travel to neighboring counties for sports entertainment opportunities, families will be able to stay local and spend their dollars in our community.”
Boulton has received unanimous approval from the highly successful Atlantic League to proceed with establishing a team in Nassau County. They already have a minor league team in Suffolk.
Boulton said he expects “an instant rivalry to play the Expressway Series will entertain over an anticipated 800,000 Long Islanders annually.”
The RFP committee said it chose the LI Ducks organization because it has a successful baseball team in a market that is similar to Nassau County for over a decade. The LI Duck Games in Suffolk County are typically sold out
Nassau County taxpayers will own the new ballpark and share in the revenue derived from events held at the facility, officials said. On non-game days, the ballpark will be open for County activities that benefit local youth and sports-related organizations in Nassau County. The construction of a new ballpark stadium and team is subject to a public referendum to be held on August 1st at normal local polling locations in Nassau.
“Creating a sports entertainment destination will enhance our quality of life as well as create jobs and opportunities for residents,” said County Executive Mangano. “With the addition of a new arena and ballpark Nassau County will offer professional hockey, baseball games, world class swimming, PGA quality golf, softball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and more.”
On May 16, 2011, the Nassau County Office of Real Estate Services issued an RFP for management and operation of a minor league ballpark to be located in Mitchel Park, to bring a team to Mitchel Park and to operate and maintain the ballpark for public recreational opportunities. On June 16, 2011, proposals from two entities were received: Frank Boulton from the Long Island Ducks and Blumenfeld Development Group/Sterling Equities. On Friday, July 8, 2011, the County’s Minor League Ballpark RFP Committee selected Boulton from the Long Island Ducks.
The Ducks are also owned by former Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson. Bud was a key member of the 1969 World Champion and 1973 National League champion New York Mets.
Entering their 12th season in 2011, the Ducks own an 11-year average of 6,073 (101.2% of capacity) and have led all independent leagues in attendance in each season of their existence. Drawing over 400,000 fans to their ballpark each season, the Ducks are recognized as the gold standard in Independent baseball operations.