DAYTONA BEACH – The Daytona Tortugas have signed a 20-year lease to continue playing at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the team confirmed on Thursday. While just a few years ago the fate of minor league baseball in Daytona Beach was up in the air, residents can now plan on attending games for at least the next two decades.
The decision to stay in Daytona may have been an easy one for the Tortugas, but it didn’t come without conditions. Their ballpark will be subject to a massive wave of improvements, bringing it up to par with other minor league facilities across the country. The price tag on the improvements will be $30 million, spent by the city over the course of the new lease.
In exchange, the Tortugas will be paying the City of Daytona Beach $63,000 annual rent for the ballpark, a number which will increase to $103,000 once the first round of renovations have been implemented. Another rent increase is scheduled for January 2025, when it will go up 2% a year plus 25% of the Tortugas’ net revenue. In 2031, that will become 30%.
In 2019, a series of Minor League Baseball teams across the country were at risk of being whisked away from their communities, causing a prevailing anxiety for local baseball lovers nationwide. This entered local politicians into a fateful negotiation with the league to hang onto a local icon. Though things haven’t been in that code-red state of alarm for a couple years now, it wasn’t until this development that residents of Daytona Beach and the surrounding area could confidently rest assured that the Tortugas were going nowhere.