Noting that Tulsa wants $60 million to build a new park for the Class AA Drillers, Michael Bates asks: “How much should a ballpark cost?”
The answer appears to be “Not that much”:
As of 2004, 62% of National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues-affiliated minor league ballparks in Classes AAA, AA, High A, and Low A were built after 1990. Of those post-1990 parks, AA stadium construction averaged $1806 per seat in 1990 dollars.
Adjusted for inflation, this works out to about $3000 a seat. Tulsa wants 6000 seats; divide that into sixty million and you get $10,000 a seat. What gives? Taxpayers, apparently:
You’ve been told that $60 million is needed to build a new downtown ballpark. The truth is that nearly half that money will be used by a public trust, controlled by the major donors to the ballpark, to buy up and control the land around the ballpark, using the City’s power of condemnation if necessary.
Should anyone be curious, the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City was completed in 1998 for $34 million, or about $45 million in 2008 dollars. It seats 13,066 ($3400 a seat).