Winston-Salem’s public-private partnership with the Dash is more favorable to taxpayers than the partnership between the city of Durham and the Durham Bulls, a comparison based on financial information released today by the Winston-Salem Dash indicates.
In both communities, the city government owns the downtown baseball stadium. Payments from the Durham Bulls to the city of Durham covered about 28 percent of the city’s expenses for the ballpark for fiscal year 2009-10, according to the city’s annual financial report for fiscal year 2009-10. The remaining cost, $1.6 million, was paid by the taxpayers of Durham.
In Winston-Salem, the Dash owners paid 100 percent of the city of Winston-Salem’s annual expenses for the stadium. In 2010, payments from the Dash actually exceeded the city’s expenses by $86,000, said City Manager Lee Garrity.
"Unlike most minor league parks in the country, the Dash is covering all of the costs for both operations and debt service of the downtown baseball stadium" Garrity said. In addition, Winston-Salem has a citizens oversight committee that reviews all of the Dash financial information.
Garrity also cited a 2010 study from Escondido, Calif., that compared the financing of 17 recent minor league stadiums across the country. That study indicated that nine of the stadiums were constructed completely with public funds, and seven were partially financed with public funds. One stadium was privately financed.
Mayor Allen Joines said he is pleased that the Dash agreed to the city’s request to release the same financial information as the Durham Bulls. The information is contained in a 2010-2011 Community Report the Dash released today.
"From the very beginning of all negotiations with the Dash ownership, City Council and I insisted that the ballpark had to be funded without any net impact on city taxpayers," Joines said. "The information released today by the Dash and the comparison to Durham can reassure all citizens that this is the case."
Escondido stadium study [pdf]
Baseball financial comparison [pdf]