Double-A baseball is back on the table for Ottawa, with Beacon Sports Capital Partners agreeing in principle to a lease and renovation contract for Ottawa Stadium.
The new lease is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Terms of the contract were not disclosed in a press release.
Massachusetts-based Beacon has also signed an agreement in principle with the Eastern League to have a double-A baseball team in Ottawa for the 2014 season. The company specializes in professional sports corporations and related businesses.
Thursday's announcement comes three months after a previous agreement with Beacon was scuttled; the company then said it ran out of time to find a team in time for the 2013 season. At the time, Beacon's chief operating officer, Richard Billings, requested the chance to try for 2014.
"The City of Ottawa has cleared an important hurdle on our way to bringing professional baseball back to Ottawa," stated Mayor Jim Watson on Thursday.
"If the plan moves forward, it will allow the city to preserve an important purpose-built city asset, the Ottawa Stadium, while providing an exciting family entertainment option for the residents of Ottawa."
Terms of the lease and renovation contract will most likely be discussed at the city's finance and economic development committee at some point in October.
While the agreement is not final yet, the city said it is optimistic it will be able to come to final terms soon.
The prospect of bringing professional baseball back to Ottawa sparked the launch of a community group, called Champions for Ottawa Baseball, that is led by David Gourlay, a past OBJ Forty Under 40 recipient.
Group patrons obtained support from high-profile "ambassadors" such as Mr. Watson, Ottawa Convention Centre chair Jim Durrell and Erin Kelly, who was then executive director of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. These ambassadors were expected to advertise ticket pledges within their own networks.
The Ottawa Fat Cats, an Intercounty Baseball Team that is the current prime user of Ottawa Stadium, completed its 2012 season at the facility. Plans for the season in 2013 have not yet been determined by the city.