Atlantic League’s Texas Expansion Heating Up?

Atlantic League LogoThe Sugar Land Skeeters may lower their travel expenses in 2018, as the independent professional Atlantic League would like to add three more teams in Texas.  League officials are reportedly in active discussions with five potential ownership groups and expect the circuit to meet its 2018 expansion goal.  Read more here.  Thanks to John Cerone for the link.


Filed under League & Franchise, Market & Location

8 responses to “Atlantic League’s Texas Expansion Heating Up?


    This is a very informative, detail oriented report. Like the business minded, rationale replies as well.
    Looking over minor league attendance numbers and population figures, has there ever been any discussions on having, say a western version of the Atlantic league in markets such as Boise, Spokane, Suburban Portland, Vancouver,BC, Winnipeg ect? All, except the Portland MSA are getting fantastic attendance numbers in short season affiliated ball. Being that the Atlantic league runs from the end of April to late September, seems like that would negate any early spring weather issues as well. Would be a huge upgrade from short season ball, and I really think these respective communities would embrace a similar setup. Curious what the experts on the website have to say.
    I love minor league baseball, and that particular thought always crossed my mind!

  2. Rf9

    Why not Baton Rouge

  3. Tyler or Longview? Wichita Falls? Lubbock? Shreveport LA? All would seem to have the population needed in the area. Frankly, Tyler/Longview looks from afar to be a no-brainer as a target. The two cities are 35 miles apart; Tyler’s MSA is 216K at last census; Longview’s was 194K, and both seem to be growing.

    • TD

      Atlantic League teams need larger population bases. The Long Island Ducks average about 5K a game and draw from a base of 3M in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. This 5K a game threshold would mean a team pulling from a population on 2-300K, would have to draw around 2% of the population, one out of every 50 people, each night. Not going to happen.

      Peter Kirk once said the best gauge of predicting a team’s attendance is age of the ballpark and surrounding population.

  4. eastfirst107

    Sugar Land’s attendance is down over 30% from five years ago. The costs of flying teams in and out are starting to wear on them. But, there aren’t 3 good open markets within a 5-6 hour drive of Sugar Land, let alone 3 open ones with the inclination to build a ballpark.
    Austin (Round Rock) and San Antonio already have teams, and are too small to support a second – they would be foolish to go into either of those markets.

    Especially when your stadium standards are very high, like the Atlantic League’s, entering new markets and getting $30-million+ stadiums built is really, really difficult, no matter who the league president is. They haven’t opened a new stadium on the East Coast (SoMD) since 2008.

    If the Atlantic League is looking to have 3 new stadiums built in Texas in the next 2 years, the fact that they’ve only entered 1 new stadium in the last 9 years should cast some doubt on this plan.

    • TD

      San Antonio has a population of 2.3M, DAL/FTW has 2.2M and Austin 930K. These cities can definitely support 2 minor league teams. For a good overview of potential minor league market opportunities look at this presentation that the VB Nep’s put together:

      Click to access presentation-minor-league-baseball-in-virginia.pdf

      3 Ballparks is an aggressive plan, agreed.

      I think what bothers me about Prez RW is he seems not to be able to get things done. He mentioned some key goals when taking over the league, consolidating all the teams’ ticket offices, their online stores, etc… and nothing has happened.

      Here is a piece where RW says he is in early talks about a team for Raleigh, NC:

      But then the article says, “Raleigh City Council member John Odom said he hadn’t previously heard news of a potential expansion team…” and “Dennis Edwards, the president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he hadn’t heard of potential expansion plans” and finally, the best, “White said there is no current government involvement, and there have been no talks with potential owners…”.

      So who the #$%& is Rick White talking to? Less schmoozing; more tangible results, please.

  5. TD

    When looking at the “5-6 hour ride” of each other, and the Atlantic League’s usual targeted demographics & populations, my guess on the 3 teams locations would be Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

    It has been 2.5 years since Rick White has been named President with the primary focus of league expansion and a ground breaking ceremony hasn’t even taken place yet. It seems his focus has been pace of play, colored ball stiches and graphics on equipment — all non-measurable, non-revenue generating projects.

    RW says in this piece they expect to meet the 2018 expansion goal, but Bob Zlotnik says, “time will tell if it happens.” There has been two PR’s from Virginia Beach in the last 2 years.

    I think they need someone as League President who can nail down the establishment of franchises, but Peter Kirk already is there.

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