- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino says other New England communities have approached the team’s Triple-A minor league affiliate as it tries to work out a deal with Rhode Island for a private-public partnership to build a new waterfront ballpark in Providence, but he won’t say which ones.

Lucchino, a co-owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, said Thursday the team is negotiating exclusively with Providence and trying to come up with a deal for a stadium that is better for taxpayers than the team’s original proposal asking for $120 million in state subsidies.

“It’s hardly a done deal. We’re in the throes of intense negotiations,” Lucchino said.

The team has said it will have to look outside of Rhode Island if it doesn’t get the waterfront land it wants and a deal with the state. It has said staying in Pawtucket is not feasible.

Lucchino said the ownership group believes there are other places in New England that will have an interest in the Red Sox Triple-A franchise being in their city. He said the team promised Rhode Island it would have an “exclusive opportunity to make a deal.”

“We’re not conducting an auction. We’re not conducting a horse race,” he said.

The city manager of Worcester, Massachusetts, New England’s second-largest city, told The Associated Press on Thursday that officials there have no intention of providing any public funding for a PawSox stadium. Earlier this month, New Bedford’s mayor told The Standard-Times that the potential cost to taxpayers makes the stadium proposal a “non-starter.”

A spokeswoman for the mayor of New London, Connecticut, said Thursday officials would be open to an offer from the PawSox but the city hasn’t approached the team. And last week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the team had not approached him.

When pressed on what leverage the team has in Rhode Island when other cities have expressed reservations about public funding for a stadium, Lucchino replied, “I don’t think that’s a game or a gamble that’s prudent to take.”

Lucchino reiterated the team’s contention that the new, multi-use stadium would draw up to 1 million visitors to Providence year-round and result in an estimated $14.9 million annually in direct spending.

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