AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - City leaders announced today the San Antonio Missions will officially move to Amarillo.
The Elmore Sports Group, joined by Mayor Ginger Nelson, said that it will move its AA baseball team, the San Antonio Missions, to Amarillo and the yet-to-be constructed multi-purpose event venue in time for the Spring 2019 season.
"We've already been working on the stadium design, working on the lease with the city and we're going to keep moving forward on all of those things," said D.G. Elmore. "We feel like we're part of something that's starting to revitalize downtown (Amarillo)."
Nelson said today's development will boost economic growth and make Amarillo more attractive for employers by increasing the quality of life. Nelson said Amarillo wasn't the only suitor, with Wichita Falls and Lubbock also being possible locations.
"We have to consider the positive potential return on this project is not just financial, it's also human," Nelson said. "This state-of-the-art stadium will have the positive potential to make Amarillo a more attractive place to live and work. It can help recruit businesses looking to relocate and it will help local employers recruit and keep employees. Families can come out for quality together at a reasonably priced event."
WATCH the press conference below:
As part of the Texas League, Amarillo will join other teams in Corpus Christi, Frisco and Midland. The league also extends outside the state's border to Tulsa, Arkansas and Missouri.
It's been almost a decade since a consultant said some kind of baseball would be a good fit with downtown development.
Since then city leadership has floated several plans beginning with moving the independent league team the Amarillo Thunderheads to a multi-purpose event venue (MPEV) that would host more than just baseball games. And while that team made the only bid to occupy the facility, it has since left the Potter County Memorial Stadium and merged with its sister team the Grand Prairie AirHogs.
An election proposition to build a stadium for about $32 million passed narrowly with 52 percent support in 2015.
But the Thunderheads bid died on the vine when the Local Government Corporation (LGC), working for the city council, upped the stakes suggesting it might be possible to lure a minor league team affiliated with Major League Baseball.
After that, the LGC said last year the owner of the San Antonio Missions, the Elmore Sports Group, was interested in moving that team to Amarillo. But the price tag for a stadium to host a double-A minor league team went up to $48 million which the city ultimately trimmed to $44 million last year.
As the city waited for a definitive agreement, San Antonio leadership cooled to the idea of building a triple-A stadium downtown without more private investment to allow the Elmore Sports Group to move the Missions here and bring their Colorado Springs team to San Antonio.