Audit shows the Fresno Grizzlies are still losing money
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Grizzlies played host to hundreds of students from area schools on Tuesday in a game with Omaha. It was not a full house, but last Friday night, more than 14 thousand fans jammed Chukchansi Park giving the AAA baseball team it's biggest crowd ever. The team and the city would like to see more nights like that.
"So far they are not coming out ahead financially, they are losing some money. They are concerned about that, we are concerned about that."
Fresno City Manager Mark Scott just released a financial audit, provided to the city by the team. It shows the Grizzlies continue losing money. City Council Member Lee Brand has been studying the numbers.
"It looks like it was another tough year for the Grizzlies, the economy is bad so I'm not surprised, they lost a little over a million dollars last year, some money owed to the city, not as much as before."
City Council Member Lee Brand says in addition to losing a million the audit shows the team is behind on their stadium lease payments to the city by about $400 thousand. But Scott says he's sure the team will make good as they have in past years.
"On an operating basis they have come even with us each year and we expect that to happen again."
The audit provided to us is just a sketch of the financial picture. It shows the team still paying the city close to $700 thousand a year to be in the stadium. Brand says that is money the city would lose if the team fails. "As they go, we go, so if they are not successful we're not going to be successful we're going to lose a tenant there."
Fans Action News spoke with hope the city and the team stick together.
Larry Ortiz of Fresno told us: "I think it's worth the whole investment, especially for downtown."
Martha Mendez, another Grizzlies fan told us she thought the stadium was well worth the investment by the city: "Yes I do, It's kind of a shame if it goes away because we really enjoy coming out here."
And with more than 20 years left on the team's lease with the city, it's hoped these children bused in for Tuesdays game will grow up to be paying customers and come back.
Attempts to reach Grizzlies management for a comment on the audit were unsuccessful.
fresno grizzlies, sports, gene haagenson
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