New League, 10 Teams, One Stadium

Ozarks Pro BaseballOzarks Pro Baseball, LLC is working to launch the Heartland of America Independent Baseball League — a 10-team circuit that would operate out of Price Cutter Park in Ozark (MO) but involve regional barnstorming.  Read more here.  The stadium is the former home of the Springfield/Ozark Mountain Ducks (Indy Pro, Texas-Louisiana League, Central League and Frontier League).  Enigmatic minor league sports mogul (hockey and baseball) Horn Chen apparently still owns the ballpark.

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10 responses to “New League, 10 Teams, One Stadium

  1. Lori

    New turf looks great! Renovations unbelievable and staff working hard to make this collegiate summer league a huge success! Thank you to all who have worked hard to get the former Price Cutter park finished in perfect timing for the summer teams to play ball! We appreciate all the time money and passion put into this stadium, the coaches, organizers and of course those who continued to move forward to make this a success. PLAY BALL!!!

  2. tenaciouspuma

    I say good luck then. It’s an interesting concept, but, I still remain skeptical regardless of Mr. Wilkinson’s well thought out and written response. Many of us avid baseball people on here come from areas communities where indy ball has ruined the chance of good baseball for our parks…hence the rise of the successful summer collegiate model. Again however, I wish you best of luck Mr. Wilkinson and hope your league succeeds.

  3. Dan,

    I don’t know you. But, I know you can’t know much about Independent Baseball. You should know that the vast majority of independents don’t own their own stadium. They also go out of business routinely because, well…loading 40 onto buses and driving from Winnipeg to Laredo, and assuming their expenses, along with generating no income while you’re on the road…has proven to be a pretty ridiculous business model in the 21st Century.

    You obviously didn’t read the previous response, either. We don’t have Owners. We have ONE OWNER. This avoids the issue of revenue sharing, and, I would explain it to you again, but…it’s clear that facts don’t matter, unless they afford you an opportunity to criticize things that you don’t understand.

    Drop by the stadium any time. The hot dogs and drinks are on me. If it makes you feel better, wait about 20 years to make the trip. We’ll still be here.

    • Dan

      It’s a little funny you’re criticizing the league I currently play in. We’re doing just fine. I guess I should’ve said lease a stadium and not own. My bad. I will drop by for those hot dogs though. And I do wish you well but as a player who has seen too many leagues come and go and players get screwed over in the process. American West, ECBL, various winter “leagues” come to mind. If you prove me wrong great, but being that word of this league just started coming out to the public I am a little concerned. These are players lives you’re dealing with. If you can’t pay them (or even ask for them to pay… looking at you Pecos League)… then you’re not doing anything good for independent baseball. At least the American Association teams pay their bills. Unlike the United League… and so forth. You get where I’m coming from here?

  4. tenaciouspuma

    Well said Edward. I am not sure what some of these indy leagues are thinking. It takes so much time, money, effort, sales, etc…to operate one team, now, these Indy leagues are trying to start up leagues in less than 6 months. What kind of player will these teams be getting this late. How do you find coaches? Granted, there is no travel here, so, that should help on costs. I wonder where the players would live. They have to go turf, it seems the amount of play on ONE field would ruin it. I think this would have a shot if it took a full year to plan, however, I would bet it will be similar to the INDY league starting in Canada and NY, two weeks and have a nice day when payroll hits. How do you split revenue? Do all the players get paid the same? Lots of questions!

  5. Edward

    The fact that it’s late April and they still don’t have a lease for their main stadium nor adequate turf on it does not bid well for this venture. I’ve visited a couple of similar pro hub leagues in the past – one in Utica, NY in 2007 which did not finish it’s season and one in Macon, GA in 2010 which lasted 1 season. Each of those hub leagues had only 4 teams and still were not successful.
    My recommendation, which I know isn’t worth much, would be to start next year which would allow time to get leases signed, alternate sites established and whatever marketing needs to be done. Also start with fewer teams so the cost would be less and management easier while determining if their business model can work.

    • To Edward and others….

      There is no LEASE on this stadium. The Heartand of America Baseball League, LLC, a Nevada Limited Liability Corporation OWNS the stadium. We are not “leasing” anything. And, herein lies the difference between any prior league you are addressing, and the Heartland of America Baseball League.

      In both Utica and Macon, neither entity owned its stadium. They paid to play on their own fields. They did not own their concessions, merchandising, broadcast rights, parking lot, or any other aspect of revenue streams that flow into a League.

      These leagues weren’t leagues, in the sense that 4 teams do not make a league. They did not even have the ability to sell their own advertising, or stadium billboards without the consent of the stadium owner.

      To be completely responsive to any and all concerns, the Heartland of America Baseball League will take full ownership of what was Price Cutter park, on or about May 4, 2015. Through cooperation with its former owner and the City of Ozark, some improvements have already been made, and others are in progress, in advance of the transfer of ownership. The turf contract is in place, and on an expedited installation schedule. Two new scoreboards are being installed…one to replace the board which had been a part of the park since 198 and the other a mega jumbo tron whose installation will be completed by the end of August.

      This business model is absolutely NOTHING like that which was employed by any league in the past. Utica and Macon did not market outside of Utica and Macon. The relied on drawing areas of at the most less than 100,000 people. The Springfield Metropolitan Area, by itself, is pressing half a million people, and the other nine cities where there is active marketing of our product, bring the total to well over 1,000,000 people.

      There IS active marketing going on in all 10 cities to be represented. We have a presence in all 10 communities and will be involved with youth baseball, and other community organizations. Because one entity owns every revenue stream flowing into the league, each Team has an adopted charity in the city it represents, and portions of even gate proceeds go to those charities, from games played by those teams.

      By playing 100 consecutive days of doubleheader baseball in 2015, and 200 days of double header baseball in 2016, and adding concert series involving the Wounded Warrior Project, MTV and other concert promoters, WWE Wrestling events, and what will become the nation’s three premiere early-season college baseball tournaments, by the close of 2015, this stadium will be the most utilized minor league baseball venue in the USA, being utilized on as many as 150 dates in 2015.

      By the close of 2016, operating the events indicated above, on a total of between 265 and 270 dates, this facility will become the most utilized sports venue of any type, any kind, in any sport ant any level inn the USA.

      So, you see…there is NO LEASE, and as owners of not only the baseball end of the operation, but also every dollar from every event, including parking revenues for those events, this is NOT “a startup independent minor league baseball operation, in a stadium owned by someone else, and where the ownership has no right to even sell its own advertising”. This entity splits revenue with no one, and is in the process of negotiating one of the premiere stadium naming rights deals in the country at the minor league level, because we are inn a position to offer that naming rights sponsor something that it cannot get anywhere else…up to 270 dates per year, and all the benefits that they cannot get elsewhere because, essentially one person makes the final decision as to what can be given in return for the financial commitment that will be forthcoming.

      The concept was developed by a baseball guy, but with the able assistance of a Beverly Hills CPA who has more ties to more major Hollywood entertainment organizations than you can imagine. Our Washington, DC Partner is one of the nations most celebrated legal minds in modern times. Together, the five major partners in this operation have examined in great detail why every other independent league has ceased to be, or has struggled, and we have eliminated absolutely every speed bump on the road to success.

      The Heartland of America Baseball League has a 2015 and 2016 season ticket guarantee of 2000, and is estimating nightly attendance at roughly 3100. Our break even point, is well below that number., and when you factor in naming rights, field sponsors, scoreboard sponsors, in and out of stadium advertising, the two billboards along HWY 65 which are on our property, merchandising which is being handled by the number 1 marketing entity in all of Minor League Baseball…the non-baseball and non-Heartland of America Baseball, BASEBALL events…the people who have over $5,000,000 into this project already, are more than confident that we will be around for you to congratulate later.

      When I met with executives from Minor League Baseball t the 2014 Winter Meetings, the highest ranking of those executives said this, when the briefing was done…

      “This is one of those ideas that when you hear about it, the first thing you do is shake your head, because you can’t believe it wasn’t done 50 years ago…And, the SECOND thing you do, is kick your own ass, because it isn’t YOUR idea.”

      Later in the same week, a World Series Manager said, “You guys aren’t just starting a new league…You’re re-inventing minor league baseball”.

      I respect your opinions. But, you cannot possibly know what has been done already in support of creating REGIONAL MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. And, by suggesting that there is no “lease” in place…makes it clear you can’t possibly have a complete understanding of where this league and this overall venture, is headed.

      I invite you all to Ozark, this summer and beyond. The drinks and dogs are on me. Oh, and by the way…BECAUSE we own parking, tickets, concessions, merchandising, broadcast rights, and all other revenue streams…every seat in the park is $12, AND, with the price of admission, every fan get a dog and a soda, at no cost. So, we aren’t just 100 consecutive days of double header baseball. We are “Cheaper than going to a movie”.

      Ad, when you package all of THAT, with the marketing and promotional efforts that are in place and that will be developed over time…the world will soon see that the World Series Manager who made the comment about “re-inventing minor league baseball,” might just be smart enough to get back to the World Series a time or two, more.

      Thanks guys. Yes, it IS all about the base—ball. And, we wish every team, league and player all the success in the world. But we are FAR MORE than just another Independent Minor League.

      Respectfully,

      Art Wilkinson
      Director, Baseball Operations
      The Heartland of America Baseball League, LLC

      PS. At the end of the 2014 Season, the MLB Scouting Bureau released the 4 scouts it had covering Indie Baseball. I know this because one of those men will be Managing inn HoABL this season. After we announced our launch, it has been determined that the Bureau WILL scout HoABL. In addition, not only have 18 Clubs assigned a scout to cover HoABL thus far, but the last 26 players signed into HoABL, have been directly referred by MLB Clubs, and are players who were IN an MLB Spring Training, less than a month ago. So, it appears as though at least those folks are confident of our continued existence.

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