Hopes Dim for Skylands Park Revival

New Jersey Cardinals LogoCarl Barbati, sports editor for the New Jersey Herald, takes a look at the current Skylands Park situation and the hope, or lack thereof, for indy pro ball returning to the stadium any time soon.  He talks about the state of the resuscitated Northern league and futilely (for a second time) brings up the Atlantic League as an option.  Read more here.  Thanks to John Cerone for the link.


Filed under League & Franchise, Lease & Contracts, Market & Location, Stadium Issues

12 responses to “Hopes Dim for Skylands Park Revival

  1. Just Some Internet Guy That You Dont Know

    I’m like 30 minutes from there and the only thing I can think of is it’s a mix between old and new in terms of the concourse and things like that. Maybe that’s part of what they’re talking about when they say millions but in actuality, it’s not that far from being ready.

    I’d drop a team in there…too bad it doesn’t look feasible at the moment.

    • ballparkbiz

      It depends on what the owner wants to charge for rent. He won’t take a loss, so it would at least have to cover property taxes, utilities, and upkeep.


      • Just Some Internet Guy That You Dont Know

        That’s true too but you have the running businesses there and supposedly cell towers. So that should help offset costs. Just the millions to be up and running doesn’t seem right. The ballpark is not in bad shape. Could be wrong but I thought it was startup costs that were the problem not the ongoing costs.
        Maybe I just need to pull out the detective hat. He is in Philly.

      • ballparkbiz

        You shouldn’t take into consideration the other businesses and cell towers, as the ballpark’s owner will not use any of those revenues to subsidize a lower lease, unless there is some kind of revenue-sharing arrangement (advertising, etc.) where the owner could make up those revenues PLUS increase his financial take in the long run.

        Start-up costs are start-up costs, provided the stadium doesn’t need a bunch of work. One of the major obstacles in the past has been a for-profit stadium ownership/management group absorbing a $130,000 property tax bill, which would have been a base amount for any annual lease. I seem to recall the property tax was lowered to $35,000 (correct me if I am wrong), but with utilities and upkeep on top of that, a final lease could still top six figures. This reality, coupled with the fact that the Sussex Skyhawks averaged 1,851 fans per game (probably including tickets sold — not butts in the seats) over a five-year period from 2006-2010, it could be legitimately argued that the market presents higher risk than one might find elsewhere. Now, that doesn’t mean a good and well-financed operator could not succeed and actually do well, but I think it would take a good dose of upfront cash to effectively market the new franchise, as well a reserve of cash to subsidize the operation as the owner grows the brand and builds fan support/momentum over time.


      • Just Some Internet Guy That You Dont Know

        All possible. But that market should have done better. They used to sell out all the time and it’s not like something came to change that or take away from that besides the team moving to State College but it didnt seem like the area was poisoned. Just seems like general apathy and not enough done in terms of promotion and all that from the CanAm team.

        Tax is 30,000. But you could still end up over 100,000 with upkeep, etc. if you’re bearing the whole burden of the tax. Could possibly be offset by naming rights and all that good stuff.

        His company is a telecom company and may have jumped the gun on my comment. Assumption that maybe there would be some type of promotion etc. He’s part of another company too but I forget what they do..or was part of another company. They SEEM to be after distressed properties for telecom reasons and anything else is just there. Would ASSUME there is some compromise that could be made.

        I just think there is opportunity there. I could be wrong. But if I can and get the opportunity to ask directly I will ask some questions and see what’s going on. These articles seem like they’re trying to further destroy the market than to help the market, Already started sleuthing…

  2. Alan, I live only 25 minutes from Skylands Park, but don’t have any idea what the condition of the park is. The scoreboard was in need of some repairs during the Skyhawks’ final season, but other than that, I suspect just the field will need some work. Certainly it does not need improvements that would take years to do as Barbati suggests, especially for an independent team.

    Obviously the new owner’s motives are in some question, since he admitted to not buying the property for the ballpark. But it does seem clear from Barbati’s articles that he is doing everything he can to poison the market for a new team that may come in. He seems to be friends with Tony Torre, who was the NJ Cardinals GM, so I suspect at least one of them was wronged at some point as both seem intent on spewing negativity about baseball returning to Skylands.

    • ballparkbiz

      I would love to get in there, but the market is so far away from me. I have a great and fitting branding idea that would kill, but I’ll have to keep it secretly on the shelf for now.

      I hope someone steps up to the plate to launch a new team there. It’s a crime that there has been no baseball at Skylands for this long.


  3. Matty

    or how about the fact that he said the last Northern League post was on June 7 when it was in fact June 26, no mention of the Can-Am League, a ton of biased remarks for Affiliated Baseball – just poor reporting to the fullest extent.

  4. It is clear that Barbati does not know what he’s talking about, so I would suggest ignoring his columns from now on. Skylands was NEVER in play for an Atlantic League team. And how come there is no mention of the Diamond League putting a team at Skylands ? Oh, probably because Barbati was lazy in his research and has never heard of the league.

    • Ed Roberts

      Besides the new Diamond league the writer also failed to mentioned the possibility of summer collegiate ball. The ballpark falls nicely into the Atlantic Collegiate league’s geographic footprint and would likely require much fewer ballpark upgrades. Bottom line is the writer did not do his research.

      • Amazingly, Barbati has written three similar articles over the past couple months, all with numerous factual errors and omissions. I guess when you are the “editor”, nobody checks your work. It just amazes me when the local media can try to sour the public on a team before one even arrives.

      • ballparkbiz

        Indeed, it is amazing to me that, as a sports editor, he is so clueless and/or lazy about what he puts in print. Posting links to his articles is more about fodder than fact. That said, I am most interested in the ballpark owner’s true interest in hosting baseball. It seems like a minor concern to him — no pun intended.

        I have never been to Skylands in person, but I have seen numerous photos over the years. Unless the field needs TLC, I am not sure what upgrades or improvements are necessary to host an indy pro team. The idea that big expenditures are needed in addition to a year to get the park ready seems way overblown. Please correct me if I am wrong.


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