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Rural King

Deadline looms for Jackson's AA Baseball Team

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The City of Jackson has received a lease proposal from the Lozinak Group which owns the franchise. No details have been released on the lease agreement, but an earlier one-year agreement was rejected by the city council due ot the lack of a multi-year commitment. The city told the team owners that any lease agreement must contain a multi-year timeframe, the ability of the city or a third party found by the city to buy the team, and a minimum purchase price for the team; and that it had to be submitted for approval of the Dec. 13 meeting of the city council or be prepared to vacate the park on Dec. 15. So the citizens of Jackson and West Tennessee will know in the coming two weeks whether Jackson will still be home to a professional minor league baseball team or if Jackson will have a big empty stadium to fill.

Jackson Sun Article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../511270311/1002

The Diamond Jaxx are a good team, they have been Southern League Champions recently and last year were Northern Division Champions, so its not like they are a horrible team. The problem seems to be the lack of marketing of the team to the region, as local support has waned and is pretty much insufficient without attracting folks from the rest of West Tennessee - which most of which is less than an hour away. You never see Diamond Jaxx advertisements, scores, reports, etc in local papers, on TV, or on the radio outside of Jackson, so nobody knows how good they are, how cheap it is to go see them, or all the promotions they offer. Now why this is the case I don't know, but Jackson is not big enough to support the team on its own, so its seems like they are asking to fail by not buying space for advertising in other regional media outlets or trying to push more regional and local media to cover their team.

I really hope the city gets an agreement, and hopefully buys or finds a buyer who will keep the team in Jackson. I went to at least one game a week last year, I would miss having access to such great and affordable entertainment, not to mention I think it will be a black-eye for the image of the city.

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Lets just hope they can work someething out. You dont realize how important something like a AA baseball team is until you are close to losing it. Its a valuable resourse to a city when it comes to quality of life issues and luring new business to the area.

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I would hate to see that new stadium emptied this early. Double A baseball is awesome to watch, i go down the street to watch the Lookouts play in Downtown Chattanooga at least once a year, sometimes many more trips are taken. Hopefully the game will be in Jackson for years to come.

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The Jackson Sun reports today the lease proposal is for 2-years with two options to extend 1-year each time, along with an option to buy (for the city or 3rd party) at the price of 12.5 million by June 1st. Now there are issues with the deal though, primarily the 12.5 million price tag, but there is not indication that will scuttle any potential deal from what I read. I really hope the deal goes through and the city buys the team.

The article also has some illustrations of local opinion and lack of support for the team after years of bad relations between the city and team ownership(s), and IMO plain out poor marketing.

Jackson Sun Article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../511290305/1002

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Well I for one think that Jackson needs this team to stay put. It is a great marketing tool for that area.

I say get a new ownership and start from scratch.

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So! Today was the day the Jackson City Council took up the two year lease agreement proposed by the Diamond Jaxx. The outcome.......well they will decide Friday. :( Things don't look good, as the some in the city as it in their heads that a far-flung Texas-Louisiana League that has interest in Jackson and Pringles Stadium if the Jaxx leave is somehow a viable option. If AA baseball is drawing poorly, mainly due to poor marketing IMO....wait till they see how badly a no-name far off league of consisting of mainly small Texas cities fairs. I mean why not just start a Kentucky-Illiniois-Tennessee (KIT-Kitty League) team and play local towns like Union City, Hungtingdon, Fulton (KY), Sikeston, and Farmington, MO, at least they wouldn't be 475 miles away!!!

They should take the deal and keep the Jaxx for as long as possible, and IMO if they are willing to spend millions on a questionable travel ball complex they should just buy the Jaxx. If they lose this team the city is going to regret it for a long time, heck probably forever as that stadium and whoever they get to fill it will be a glaring the city in the face as a gigantic failure. Industries and businesses don't care whether the team draws or not, the sheer fact the AA team is there is a selling point for the city, a independent league team won't be a selling point no matter how nice and modern Pringles Park is. At least thats my take, I'm certian many folks would disagree with it.

Jackson Sun Link:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../512130312/1002

WBBJ Ch. 7 ABC Jackson Link:

http://www.wbbjtv.com/NEWS/news%20pages/news_eye6.htm

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So are the Jaxx going or staying???? Well we'll have to wait until January 12, 2006 to find out. A buyer for the team has come forward and the city wants to give the Lozinak folks time to negotiate with the pontential buyer. So is this good or bad? I have no idea. Mayor Farmer said he would not discuss the potential buyer aside from he was NOT local. I'm holding out hope that this potential buyer wants to keep the team in Jackson and see's thet potential to draw and do well in the market like did when the team first came to the city, ie they hopefully understand the need to market the team to the region.

Jackson Sun Article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...NEWS01/51216002

Editorial by the Jackson Sun on the need to keep the team in the city. the article mentions my chief gripe of the lack of marketing by the current owners and the corresponding decline in team support:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...01/1014/OPINION

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Timothy Bennett of Overtime Sports, a sports consulting firm, has been revealed in the Jackson Sun to the be the party interested in buying the team and trying to keep it in Jackson. He firm was recently involved in the move of the AA Atlanta Braves team from Greenville, SC to Jackson, MS. Mayor Farmer while somewhat optimistic was careful not to get to far out in his stating hopes this will safe the AA franchise in Jackson, but stated that if the team stays there will have to be a major investment in marketing the team to the region again to get the franchise turned around.

Jackson Sun Article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...314/1002/NEWS17

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I hope he can buy the team and make it work in Jackson. We should hear some news in the coming days/weeks. This is really our only chance for this not to end badly it seems at the moment.

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Are there any figures about the economic impact that a team like the Diamond Jaxx has had on Jackson? I know that keeping a Double A team around looks real good considering some of the other Double A cities include Jackson MS, Birmingham AL, Chattanooga TN, and Jacksonville FL, but the fact remains

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It was, and could be again, a money maker; however as of right now, poor marketing to West Tennessee outside of Jackson and a rocky relationship between ownership(s) and the city has caused attendance to plummet. The team has not been marketed outside of Jackson very well since the first couple of years the team was in town, and without the rest of West Tennessee knowing how cheap the entertainment is and how good the team is, or heck that their is a AA Cubs affiliate in the city, then it seems only naturaly the team draws poorly. It seems like perhaps ownership saw greener pastures and more money in another bigger city and decided that Jackson was someplace they might could move on from and there was no need to try to make the team work any longer.

I think the worst thing is how it will reflect on Jackson, that it could not hold its AA team. I mean the city doesn't have alot of other premier attractions like that. I think being able to sell to potential industries the fact that the city boasts a AA Cubs affiliate, a good one at that, would be a big plus for many corporate types who would see the city as a developing place to set up shop, which Jackson definately is.

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This is definately good news. Hopefully now with the new 3-year least in place Overtime can buy the team and put forth some real regional marketing for the franchise and get city/regional fan support back up to where it should be. All I think it will take is some effort in marketing the team to the region (or re-marketing in regards to Jackson) to see the team draw better and be financially viable again in the city.

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I was in the Florida forum and ran across this post relating the story that teh Jaxx were going to move to Orlando after this season, this seems to contradict the 3-year lease discussed above. Doers anyone now the current scoop? I hope th eteam stays in Jackson.

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...=0entry305238

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This is the first I've heard of it. If this guy does buy it he will have to pay a 500K penalty for moving the team before the lease is up. I hope Overtime buys the team since the owner has stated he wants to make baseball work again in Jackson like it did the first few years when it was marketed properly to the region. The local media has not said a word about his new fellow (as the Jackson Sun is usually all over this story), so it raises doubts in my mind about the closeness of any deal with him over Overtime.

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This is the first I've heard of it. If this guy does buy it he will have to pay a 500K penalty for moving the team before the lease is up. I hope Overtime buys the team since the owner has stated he wants to make baseball work again in Jackson like it did the first few years when it was marketed properly to the region. The local media has not said a word about his new fellow (as the Jackson Sun is usually all over this story), so it raises doubts in my mind about the closeness of any deal with him over Overtime.

Oh crap. Can't Orlando get a Triple-A team to move there instead? Let's hope they don't end up stealing the Jaxx. :(

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I talked to some folks in the know today, the story is true, but its not a done deal or near that point yet; he is just in the picture now with Overtime in talking to Lozinak about buying the team is how I am told.

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Check out this article about some teams that have come and gone, The guy in the article is wanting to change things, but over all the past climate for a permanent team in the Orlando hasn

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It's only a matter of time before Orlando gets another baseball team. I'd rather see a new team and have them leave yours alone though. I don't like to see anyone lose a baseball team. I think minor league baseball is the best sports value out there. Orlando has had a minor league team since the 1920's I believe. In the 1990's the city owned park, (Tinker Field), was starting to show it's age. It was not in the best part of town either, and Disney offered to build a new state of the art facility if the team moved there. The team moved, but since the stadium is on Disney property it's a half hour drive out of downtown Orlando and always difficult to get to and from because of the tourist traffic. Attendance nosedived and the team moved out of town within a couple years. I wouldn't be surprised to see any move take a couple years, since the person in Orlando wants to build a new stadium. It's was reported briefly on the news and in the paper in Orlando about a team being brought to town, but both stories presented it as basically a fact that was happening instead of just a possibility.

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The rumored buying of the Diamond Jaxx by a buyer in Florida to move the team to Orlando has been dispelled by the current owners and by Overtime Sports, who state they are still in negotiations to facilitate the sell of the team, with no other buyers currently in the picture.

Jackson Sun article:

http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...=73233777872136

This story got some legs though, with a pretty reliable person who would be in the know about such things telling me they heard it was true as well. Amazing how stories can get off the ground. As I stated, I found it odd the Jackson Sun had not picked up on and ran with such a big turn of events, and clearly there was a reason why.

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