City Council negotiates with Triple Crown Sports
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a unanimous 7-0 vote to not allow the Triple Crown series of youth baseball tournaments to play in Steamboat this summer, Steamboat Springs City Council is negotiating its contract with Triple Crown Sports.
At their weekly meeting Tuesday, the city of Steamboat Springs and the league each proposed negotiations relating to public health guidelines, field use fees and sponsorship fees from the city.
Council members expressed mixed feelings over working with Triple Crown, but William Jameson, a Steamboat resident who spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, said several businesses and lodges are opposed to the contract.
“It’s pretty clear that there is significant opposition to Triple Crown within the business community,” he said.
Triple Crown and City Council agreed on categories of location, field use fees, annual sponsorship fee, capital investments and number of participants, but disagreed on term length, number of events and number of teams.
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The previous contract between the two entities involved seven events, no restrictions on the number of teams and a five-year contract with five years extension. This time around, the city proposed a two-year agreement, no more than four events and as many as 70 teams for the largest events.
Countering those proposals, Triple Crown proposed a rolling two-year agreement with opportunities to negotiate conditions each year, as many as five events and no restriction on the number of teams.
The city capped their desired number of teams at 70 because 70 is the capacity for the current staffing level, and anything higher would require more staffing, thus a greater cost to the city.
Triple Crown has played in Steamboat for almost 40 years, which representatives from their staff brought up as a loss for the league if council chooses not to renew a contract.
“Don’t make Triple Crown’s problem your problem,” Jameson said. “It’s not your problem to figure out where they’re going to hold events.”
Keri King, Triple Crown CEO, said he understands council’s concerns of overwhelming lodging locations in Steamboat, which is why they proposed a limit on teams, but said the concern of “policing the number of teams” is a burden on Triple Crown.
King also said Triple Crown compromised with the city because “it’s hard to replace a beautiful mountain destination venue,” adding “it may be easy to get something in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but it’s not easy in Steamboat, so we’re laying down on the sponsorship and the fee waivers.”
A few council members also took issue with the rolling two-year contract, claiming it does not make sense.
“What we’d be doing in six months is negotiating already, and we haven’t even seen one summer go through,” said council member Lisel Pettis. “I just don’t see how that makes any practical sense this year.”
As for what the two entities did agree on — Triple Crown may play at Howelsen Hill Park, Ski Town Park and Emerald Park; Triple Crown will pay field use fees; there will be no sponsorship fee; no capital investment and only youth events will be allowed.
Council did not make any decisions Tuesday. Once Triple Crown agrees on the city’s proposals, the measure will come back to the city for a formal vote.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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