The Cost Of Bringing Triple-A Minor League Baseball To El Paso

Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
POSTED: 05:09 PM MDT Jun 25, 2012    UPDATED: 02:00 PM MST Jan 17, 2014 

Bringing a Triple-A minor league baseball team to El Paso and building a stadium for it won't be cheap.

The cost could balloon to heights far outside the $50 million number that has been discussed to build the stadium. According to the City’s economic impact projections, the construction would cost an estimated $26.8 million dollars in indirect costs.

The project would also incur costs of moving 650 employees, renting a facility to serve as City Hall, and building a new City Hall or rehabilitating an old site.

Those three steps, and the impact of indirect costs, add up to a figure between $52.8 million and $66.3 million on top of the stadium construction costs.

While the cost is steep, council members ABC-7 spoke with said the Downtown baseball stadium would be a game-changer.

On Tuesday El Paso City Council will discuss several agenda items tied to a $50-million proposed Downtown stadium, which according to preferred plans included in this upcoming week’s agenda would involved bulldozing the current location of City Hall and the Insights museum to make room for the baseball facilities.

“We’ve always heard, ‘there is nothing to do in El Paso,’ well if that’s the message we’re sending to the outside world there is not a lot of excitement about coming to El Paso and investing in our community,” said City Rep. Steve Ortega.

According to Ortega, that’s why the Downtown baseball is a necessity for revitalizing downtown El Paso. The park would be built contingent on a deal to bring minor league baseball to El Paso, a Triple-A affiliate one step below a Major League Baseball team.

"Other cities such as San Diego, and Hershey, Pennsylvania, have used downtown stadiums to spark development," said City Rep. Cortney Niland. "I'm very excited that we have that opportunity here."

While the excitement is high for the potential of bringing minor league baseball to El Paso, some have questioned the potential for raising the revenue to build the stadium.

Hotel occupancy taxes, known as HOT taxes, have been brought up in the conversation of ways to payback the $50 million the city would need to build the stadium.

In order to raise those funds, the City would raise the HOT taxes 2 percent, making their rate the highest in El Paso.

Danny Padilla, the president of the El Paso Hotel-Motel Association, said that number has already become difficult to manage.

“We’re taxing ourselves out of the market, that’s the problem, once we go to 17.5 percent there is no more leeway,” said Padilla.

Padilla argued the cost would inhibit hotels from being able to bring families to El Paso, as well as, large conventions. He always believes that the city wouldn’t bring more tourism dollars to the area.

Ortega disputed those numbers, pointing out that El Paso had cheaper rooms than larger cities in the state.

“Who do you want to pay for this? Do you want El Pasoans to pay for this or those who are visiting? I prefer for the outsiders to pay for this,” said Ortega.