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The Official Site of the Memphis Redbirds Memphis Redbirds

Act Now for AutoZone Park

December 20, 2013

Dear Redbirds Stakeholder:

We are writing to ask for your continued support in keeping the history and tradition of baseball in Memphis for many years to come. As you may be aware, the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to acquire the Memphis Redbirds Triple-A baseball franchise contingent upon the Memphis City Council approving a proposal to purchase AutoZone Park.

While the original Redbirds/AutoZone Park financial model had minimal city investment, most minor league ballparks have significant public investment. As an example, just last week the City of Nashville approved (by a 29-7 council vote) issuing $65 million in bonds to fund a new stadium for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. This public support is needed for minor league ballparks and franchises to succeed. The Cardinals are a well-respected organization in Major League Baseball, and are willing to make a major investment in Memphis, but their current commitment to our community expires after the 2014 baseball season. It is time for the city to invest in this core asset.

The proposal presented to the City of Memphis states the city would pay no operating costs or deficits. The proposal provides several major benefits to the city and community such as:

  • The Cardinals will sign a 17-year lease in Memphis
  • All city costs related to the acquisition of AutoZone Park are projected to be fully funded by existing dedicated revenues plus the lease payments resulting in a net no additional cost to the city
  • AutoZone Park will continue to operate in downtown Memphis as a vibrant year-round facility
  • Ongoing investment in the RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities)
  • Significant short and long-term capital improvement plans to enhance the fan experience commensurate with maintaining the finest minor league ballpark in the country

Not approving this proposal creates significant risks for the city of Memphis and sends the wrong message to baseball, the Cardinals, and those interested in investing in Memphis. This proposal represents a fair deal to all parties.

We are asking you to please call, write, and/or email your councilmember before the upcoming Council Meeting on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 to express your support for the proposal and to stress the importance of this deal and why it is critical to keep baseball and the Cardinals in Memphis long-term. (Click HERE for Councilmember contact information). For a letter template, click HERE.

You are also asked to join us on January 7th at 3:30 p.m. at the Memphis City Council Meeting at City Hall (125 North Main Street, Memphis, TN, 38103). We invite you and all Redbirds fans to show your support while wearing your Redbirds hat and/or shirt. We will also be distributing a commemorative shirt to those that attend the meeting that shows your support.

We hope you will give this invitation strong consideration, and please know that by contacting your councilmember and showing your support in-person at this meeting will make a difference.

Thank you and see you on Tuesday, January 7th.

Sincerely,

Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation