Hassan seeks to help Fisher Cats and other locally owned minor league teams with new bill

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Delta Dental Stadium on July 24, 2021. Photo/Christine Murphy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is seeking to aid the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and other independently-owned Minor League Baseball teams impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a bill introduced this summer.

The Minor League Baseball Act (S.2233 and its identical house version, H.R. 4150), would emulate the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program, which has provided grant funding for entertainment venues that were forced to close their doors during the pandemic.

While the Fisher Cats did receive $1.5 million from the State of New Hampshire’s Live Venue Relief Program and a restructuring of bond repayment obligations for its stadium from the City of Manchester , the lack of a season in 2020 was a difficult one for the team, which cannot rely on windfalls from television broadcast agreements, unlike Major League Baseball teams.

The pandemic saw 40 Minor League Baseball teams lose their affiliation with Major League Baseball, with many suspending operations.

The bill is co-sponsored in the Senate by Hassan, Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and 33 co-sponsors in the House version, including Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), the congressman representing Manchester in Washington.

In its current form, the bill provides $550 million in federal relief for independent teams as well as Minor League Baseball teams that are locally owned, such as the Fisher Cats.

Teams would be able to receive grants for up to $10 million for payroll costs, regular business expenses and payments for independent contractors, with the opportunity for a second grant of 50 percent of the first if the club’s revenue does not recover to 2019 levels.

“Baseball is America’s pastime, and few sights signal recovery more than baseball stadiums filling up again as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hassan. “When families and friends come together to share in their love of baseball, small business owners also win—serving customers and stimulating the local economy. I’m glad to sign onto this bill that will help smaller baseball teams recover from a difficult revenue loss from a canceled season, and I am proud to cheer on the Fisher Cats and Red Sox!”

“We’re grateful for Senator Hassan’s leadership in helping introduce this bill to help support our Fisher Cats,” said Mike Ramshaw, Team President of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. “We’re more than a baseball team, we’re a part of the New Hampshire community. We’re so excited to be back on the field this year and showing up again for Granite State families. Relief like this will be sorely needed as we bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and reopen for business.”

 

 

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.