Winnipeg Goldeyes owner, former mayor partners with Ottawa company to lease Ottawa ball park

Ottawa Redblacks owner Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group (OSEG) has teamed up with the owner of the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team to sign a 10-year lease to operate this city’s baseball stadium.

Sam Katz, who is also a former mayor of Winnipeg, partnered with OSEG last year to launch a bid for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT) Park on Coventry Road, according to a memo issued by the city on Tuesday.

At the time their bid became public, the partners said they hoped to operate a new baseball franchise out of the stadium, which was left without a tenant after the City of Ottawa terminated a lease with the owner of the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League.

Katz told CBC on Tuesday, creating a new team for Ottawa is still the plan. Information about the league they will play in will be released shortly.

“Our goal is to bring professional baseball back to Ottawa so that the fans will be able to enjoy quality, affordable entertainment,” said Katz. 

The decade-long lease will start Jan. 1, 2021, and payment to the City of Ottawa will amount to $125,000 per year. As part of the agreement, the lease holders are also going to pay arrears owed to the city by the previous operator, amounting to $473,000.

The lease-holders will be exempt from paying municipal taxes, provided they ensure “business activities taking place at the stadium are related to baseball and other related events,” said Ottawa’s general manager of planning Stephen Willis in the memo.

“I look forward to bringing my family to a professional baseball game in Ottawa and hope that you can join me in welcoming our new partners to the National Capital,” said Willis.

OSEG and Katz plan to begin operations by next spring, the memo said.

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