County Leaders Consider Possible Deal With SWB Yankees

A final deal to sell the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees could be in place as soon as Thursday morning.

Wednesday night, the Lackawanna County Commissioners presented the Stadium Authority with the latest plan to both sell the triple A team and fund the renovation project at PNC Field.

The home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees is expected to undergo a multimillion dollar renovation project in an effort to keep the Triple-A franchise in northeastern Pennsylvania for the next 30 years.

At the Scranton Cultural Center, a joint public hearing was held by the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Multipurpose Stadium Authority about a deal to sell the Yankees to Mandalay Baseball and the New York Yankees.

County commissioner Corey O’Brien said the Yankees have agreed to pay more than $40 million to renovate and maintain the stadium for the next 30 years.

Under this deal, the stadium authority would sell the team for $14.6 million with those funds going back to that $40 million price tag.

“SWB Yankees has really stepped forward in a way that I don`t think anyone could have imagined they would,” said O’Brien. “They came to us and said ‘we want to be partners, we want to be equal partners for a very long time here, how can we do that?’ We said ‘take on the construction overages and take on the capital improvements.’”

While the Stadium Authority, which owns the franchise, still has to sign off, it appears the members like this deal.

“We’re going to be signing a contract for 30 years with the New York Yankees, the biggest, as we all know, the biggest franchise in the world,” said Stadium Authority Chairman James Timlin.

At least one baseball fan is happy as well.

“Knowing that the team will be back next year and we’ll have baseball back in Lackawanna County warms my heart,” said Dave Lencicki of West Scranton.

It is estimated it will cost an additional $30 million to keep the stadium in good condition down the road, which the Yankees and the authority will split the costs 50-50.

The commissioners said no tax dollars will be used to cover that $15 million.

Still some feel we`re paying for a stadium for a team we no longer own.

“We’re in a situation where we have to put in $15 million for maintenance and repairs over 30 years, in addition to basically spending every dime we’re getting  for the sale of the team,” said Steve Vale of Clarks Summit.

The stadium authority will meet Thursday morning at 8 a.m. where it is expected a decision will be made on whether to go forward with this deal.

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