At the end of 2015 you could read here that the New Orleans Zephyrs extended the stadium lease with the state of Louisiana. through the 2020 season. For quite a while, the Zephyrs were mentioned as a possible candidate to become San Antonio’s new AAA franchise. But with that move and with a new owner it is all up in the air now. With the new stadium lease in place, the Zephyrs hope that a new $10 MM upgrade plan will be executed to secure the team’s future in New Orleans.
Now it has been announced that the city of New Orleans has submitted a bid to host the 2017 SEC tournament, which should take place in Zephyr Field. But to be able to host that tournament, certain wishes of the SEC should be met: a ballpark seating at least 10,000, a certain number of available rooms, available RV parking, and we’d presume a minimum amount of suites and group-entertainment spaces and a minimum financial guarantee.
The New Orleans bid is financially backed by the state of Louisiana. There is a renovation plan for Zephyr Field that needs to be approved by the Louisiana legislature and that also needs the signature of the Louisiana governor. Part of the plan is that it will only be executed if Louisiana wins the bid. Only then the stadium will be renovated in such a way that it will meet the wishes of the SEC.
I guess you can imagine who is smiling at the background…. Exactly, the Zephyrs and partial owner Lou Schwechheimer. An upgraded Zephyr Field will be in the best interest of the AAA farm team of the Miami Marlins.
Other participating cities in the bid are Jacksonville FL (Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville), Memphis TN (Autozone Park), Nashville TN (First Tennessee Park) and Hoover AL(Hoover Met, the old home of the Birmingham Barons). The latter may not stand a chance as it was rather outdated when the Barons moved to their new home in 2014.