City officials undeterred by rumors of PawSox exit

City officials undeterred by rumors of PawSox exit

PAWTUCKET – City officials are remaining tight-lipped about any talks they’re having with the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox, but are sounding a confident note even as rumors of a possible departure to Worcester, Mass., continue to swirl.

In a statement released Monday, Mayor Donald Grebien said city officials will meet with PawSox leadership in the coming days.

“We remain confident that the Ballpark at Slater Mill, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is the only home for the PawSox future,” he said. “We are excited to get to work building a world class destination for our partners, the Pawtucket Red Sox.”

The Breeze confirmed Tuesday that Pawtucket officials met with the PawSox owners Monday and had a "very productive" meeting on keeping the team in Pawtucket. Those sources reported that the sides were looking forward to next steps.

The PawSox confirmed that meeting, as well as a tour the following day in Worcester.

"PawSox officials, including Chairman Larry Lucchino, met today with Worcester city officials and visited the proposed site in the Canal District," read the statement. "Yesterday, he and other club representatives met with Pawtucket city officials at Slater Mill. Both visits are part of the club's ongoing due diligence efforts."

Among reports out last week was one that minor league baseball officials had applied for team trademarks in Worcester, which led to significant speculation that an announced move might be imminent.

Those reports led many Rhode Islanders to post on social media about the team being all but gone, but that sentiment is not being echoed by city officials.

In a separate statement over the weekend “regarding a report that Worcester will be unveiling their PawSox proposal the week of Aug. 13,” the team appeared to quell suggestions from some in the Massachusetts media that an announcement of a deal in Worcester could be imminent.

“It is understandable for there to be premature speculation, but we are still in discussions with cities and hope to conclude the process at or near the end of this season,” said the team. The season ends Sept. 3.

Grebien said in mid-July that he believed it was only a matter of time before a deal was reached with the team to build a new stadium at the Apex department store site off I-95, saying he didn’t think Worcester could compete with the team’s home city in a number of areas.

City officials have continued to highlight the location of the proposed stadium in close proximity to a major artery, as well as its positioning on the riverfront, a far denser population, stronger media market, existing fan base and sponsorships, and numerous infrastructure and economic development initiatives already in place in the immediate area of the stadium.

Grebien said at the time that city officials were working on giving the team “more predictability” in the financing of a stadium, after the Rhode Island House of Representatives revised a previous financing plan.

He said he was confident that through various modifications officials could bring the team’s costs back to what they would have been under the Senate plan.

It remains unclear what city and state officials have done to finalize a proposal to the PawSox, or if they’ve yet offered a memorandum detailing the final proposal to the team.

It was clear in late June after the House passed the revised legislation, which calls for a baseline of $45 million from the team, $23 million from the state, and $15 million from the city of Pawtucket, that much of the work over the next month or more would be figuring out the super tax incremental financing (TIF) district around the stadium. Tax revenues generated within the TIF as a result of the project, including state and local revenues, go toward financing the project.

Comments

It would be so sad if the Pawsox leave Pawtucket. I hope Larry Lucchino and the Pawsox organization know how many people in Pawtucket and the state of RI would love them to stay here. It would be great for downtown and help build the city better.

You may love them to stay in Pawtucket but it takes ticket sales and corporate support to make it happen. Sadly game attendance has gone down significantly over the past few years. Pawtucket Red Sox is a business first and a local cultural attraction second. If Worcester makes them a better deal they will move up RT 146.

Must be a money grab for the greedy owners!

The baseball fans in the Worcester area already have 3 choices of Red Sox teams to attend every summer.
The Lowell Spinners are a 45 minute drive away.
Fenway Park is a 45 minute drive away.
The Pawsox are a 45 minute drive away.
All 3 parks are in the perfect locations to attract baseball fans from the Worcester area. The baseball fans in the Worcester area are very important to all 3 parks’ attendance numbers. .
If a new stadium is built in Worcester then that is where Worcester baseball fans will go to see a game. Ticket sales for Lowell Spinners will go down, ticket sales at Fenway will go down and, after the excitement of the new stadium is over so will ticket sales to the AAA franchise as very few Rhode Islanders will go to Worcester.
The Red Sox teams are perfectly aligned on the east coast (Portland, Lowell, Fenway in the middle, then Pawtucket. This has been, and is, the best way for the organization to generate the most ticket sales.
I hope ownership takes this into consideration and decides to stay in Pawtucket and be a part of, and a catalyst for, a rejuvenating downtown Pawtucket