- Associated Press - Saturday, February 17, 2018

MADISON, Ala. (AP) - A lease agreement has been agreed upon to move a minor league baseball team to northern Alabama.

Al.com reports that BallCorps LLC announced the signing of a lease, license and management agreement for the BayBears minor league baseball team to play in Madison. The team will continue to play at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile through the 2019 season, and then move to Madison in a new $46 million, 7,000-seat ballpark for the following season.

BallCorps LLC, who announced the agreement Tuesday, purchased the BayBears last year.

The Southern League, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball still need to give permission to move the Mobile team to Madison.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley says final approval to the deal could come at the Feb. 26 city council meeting. He said plans moving forward include making arrangements for an interchange to be built on I-565 to access Town Madison and the stadium.

“We are excited to partner with Ralph Nelson and his team,” Finley said in a statement Tuesday. “City council, mayor and staff have worked earnestly to take appropriate steps for our community to ensure success in this endeavor. After a detailed feasibility study, we are assured that this venture will support not only economic development in the city of Madison, but also create revenue for our school system and infrastructure needs as well.”

Ballcorps will have a 30-year lease with the city of Madison and pay at least $1 million annually in rent to the city.

Madison expects to recoup its investment in building the stadium through the rent, stadium naming rights, sales tax and non-baseball revenues for events at the stadium.

“We’ve been working for close to a year to become part of the Madison community,” said BallCorps managing partner Ralph Nelson. “After personally spending 25 years working in Major League Baseball, I have just recently learned how minor league teams provide such joy to families in cities such as Madison. We are so excited to be able provide an affordable and exciting destination to the great people of Northern Alabama. We look forward to the memories we will create together.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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