There is an overall Joy in the city of Biloxi, MS this week as there has finally been groundbreaking on what is soon to be it’s very own minor league baseball stadium. Tim Bennett, the president of Overtime Sports is in large part the reason Biloxi is welcoming it’s very own team and when asked about the recent success story Tim told the media “I’m feeling great!”. Mississippi Governer Phil Bryant expressed his gratitude towards Bennett; thanking him for his efforts toward getting Biloxi it’s own team along with a similar success for a team that plays in Pearl, MS. In an exciting first week of an organization’s existence the team gained it’s first sponsor in the locally owned M&M seafood processing company. Hundreds of season tickets have already been sold and many local casinos will be offering reduced ticket packages to guests. The team will be a Double- A affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers. The name of the team has not yet been decided, it will be up to Biloxi residents to vote on a proper name as the organization feels the community should be involved in the naming. “We’re looking forward to it being a great addition to the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast, not just Biloxi” said Biloxi Mayor A. J. Holloway. The team has been able to find $36 million in funding to this point. $15 million has been set aside in state funding, and the other $21 million has been committed by the Biloxi city council for the construction of the stadium. The official name of the stadium will be MGM Grand Stadium at Beau Rivage as the stadium will be constructed in front of the Beau Rivage resort and casino which is an affiliate of MGM Grand. The plan is for the stadium to be open by April of 2014 and ready for that season of play. Below is what the proposed stadium will end up looking like.
I feel the economic good this will do for south Mississippi will show shortly after play actually begins. First in ticket sales and affiliations with the casinos of Gulfport and Biloxi. The stadium will be built on donated land given by the Beau Rivage; financial consultant Charles Johnson told the Biloxi city council “You’re providing a smaller percentage of the stadium cost, but still engendering all the tax revenue benefits.” The teams first year tax revenue’s are projected at roughly $4 million, with $1.54 million funneling directly back into the city of Biloxi. Johnson added that AA baseball will be a great supplement to what is currently the worlds third largest gaming economy behind Las Vegas and Atlantic City. At the end of the day it is very hard for me to picture how this could negatively impact the city’s economy. AA baseball in Biloxi will be a true home run for the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast.