Monday, July 29, 2019

Five Things You Need to Know - Hagerstown Stadium Assessment

In May Crossroads Consulting released their final assessment for a proposed new Minor League Baseball Stadium in Downtown Hagerstown. Here are a few things you need to know about the assessment and its findings.

1) The current stadium is almost 90 years old

It should come as no surprise that the stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in Minor League Baseball. The field has historically had serious flooding issues. Although it has undergone several renovations, the stadium still lacks some of the features of other modern stadiums. The current stadium also only seats 4,600 and in 2018 had an average attendance of only 1,160. In 2018 there were a total of 64,957 attendees, but the stadium's yearly attendance average has been 90,063.

2) Proposed new stadium is for more than just baseball

Proposed usage of the new stadium includes "sporting events, concerts, festivals, consumer shows, family entertainment, social events and civic/community activities." For example, the new stadium could provide an ideal location for the Western Maryland Blues Fest, or other local festivals which have traditionally been limited by available space in downtown Hagerstown. For comparison, the Maryland Theatre has approximately 100,000 attendees each year.

3) The recommended site is on Baltimore Street

One of the biggest advantages of the Baltimore Street site would be that most people would be walking through downtown's retail core to get to the stadium. This provides a very large potential to increase local business sales, especially for restaurants downtown. Right now very few businesses are located near Municipal Stadium, meaning the city isn't maximizing the potential economic impact with the current location.

4) A new stadium could attract bigger crowds

Crossroads Consulting believes that a new 5,000 seat stadium would attract on average 2,700 people per game and at least 600 people for other events. This would set the expected stadium attendance to 194,400 people per year.  That's almost 200,000 people per year, most of whom would also be patronizing downtown Hagerstown businesses before or after events.

5) This is about more than just a stadium

Locating a new stadium downtown could encourage private investment in nearby properties. This means a privately funded revitalization of Hagerstown, which is further encouraged by the renovated Maryland Theatre scheduled to open October 2019. While this assessment is just a preliminary overview, there are many steps which need to be taken before approving a new stadium. Most importantly, a study of the actual cost to acquire the land and build the stadium is needed before moving forward, as well as a plan for paying for a new stadium, as well as the potential economic impact any new stadium would have.