Pelicans

Kevonte Mitchell is introduced in the season opener for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Thursday. The Frederick Keys won 6-2. Photo by Janet Morgan/Myrtle Beach Herald janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

As the season ends, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stay may be extended.

The city of Myrtle Beach passed the first of two readings granting a three-year extension for the minor league baseball team’s contract.

Horry County needs to agree to the extension before it’s official.

Little changes were made in the original 20-year contract, which was signed in 1998, requiring the city to provide for 70-percent of the stadium’s maintenance and the county to pay for 30-percent of the costs. In exchange, the lease states, the team pays the two entities rent on adjusted gross revenues. The city netted about $61,500 in 2017.

Chuck Greenberg, team owner, said the extension gives the team, city and county time to review the stadium’s condition as it looks to another long-term contact. He said a minor league baseball stadium consultant will be hired to make recommendations on upgrades needed at the ballpark. But, he said, the Pelicans are not looking to move from it’s home off 21st Avenue North.

“We don’t have a wandering eye,” he told the city council on Tuesday.

The stadium cost $12.8 million to build with the city’s share at $7 million and the county’s share at $3 million. The team owner at the time, Capital Broadcasting, paid about $2.8 million for additional upgrades.

The city is due to pay off its portion of the stadium next month.

The Pelicans are an advanced single-A Chicago Cubs team. It originated as a minor league team for the Atlanta Braves and has since been part of the Texas Rangers organization before joining the Cubs.

Greenberg bought the team in 2006.

The Pelicans’ had more than 5,500 fans for the first game in 1999, but 2017 attendance has declined to an average of 3,587, according to Minor League Baseball statistics.

Fox Simons, Myrtle Beach assistant city manager, has said some of the stadium improvements include replacing perimeter fencing, installing new gates and replacing the main roof. The city has also budgeted $1 million for field replacement in the five-year capital improvements plan.

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.

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(1) comment

mb2018

Attendance hasn't dropped from 5,500 per game in 1999 to 3,500 in 2017. There were 5,500 fans at Opening Night in 1999 but they did not average that over the whole season.

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