The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) continue to express their issues with a planned amphitheater, warning that they could terminate their agreement if it moves forward.
Mayor Joe Ganim and the city continue to discuss a proposal from developer Howard Saffan and concert promoter Live Nation to convert The Ballpark at Harbor Yard–former home of baseball’s Bridgeport Bluefish (independent; Atlantic League)–into an outdoor concert venue. City officials are working to approve that plan and have the venue open in 2019, but the Sound Tigers contend that the project would violate the terms of their lease for the adjacent Webster Bank Arena.
This story was covered in August on our sister site, Ballpark Digest, but Sound Tigers owner Jon Ledecky said the development of a new music venue next to Webster Bank Arena could violate its agreement with the city, which contains a noncompete clause prohibiting any city activity impacting event revenues. The Sound Tigers manage Webster Bank Arena, a venue that hosted several major performers over the years, including Elton John and Bruce Springsteen.
In the most recent development, the club warned that if the amphitheater project is approved, it could terminate its agreement with the city and seek monetary damages. More from CT Post:
Ledecky at that time hinted at legal action. On Monday, his vice president, Jay Itzkowitz, issued by letter a specific ultimatum: Approve the deal with Saffan — who was the Tigers’ president until 2015 — and the team will terminate its contract “rendering the arena vacant” and seek monetary damages based on “the remaining 14 years (with extension) of the operating agreement.”
Itzkowitz also took issue with the proposal by the Ganim administration to waive for the amphitheater a new 5 percent ticket tax the city began levying at the start of the year on large entertainment venues, including the ballpark and arena. That that waiver is included in the draft contract with Saffan released Friday.
The rent and infrastructure issues between the Tigers and City Hall are being mediated before Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis. Itzkowitz wrote that the Tigers last Thursday submitted a five-page counter proposal to the city, outlining the terms under which the team could co-exist with the amphitheater.
“We anticipated this proposal would be discussed at the mediation before Judge Bellis later this month, with the expectation the city would try to reach an agreement with the Sound Tigers before entering into an agreement with the proposed theater operators,” Itzkowitz wrote. “We simply do not understand how the city can assert it wants the arena to succeed and wants to address the legitimate concerns of the Sound Tigers while proceeding hastily to approve the proposed competing amphitheater agreement.”
Ganim’s administration is reportedly hoping to have the amphitheater proposal approved before the November 7 election.
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