Minor League Baseball coming to Champaign-Urbana??

Big news in the local sports section today… a group is in negotiations with the University of Illinois to get the use of Illinois Field for a minor league team.  Very exciting news, indeed.

From the News-Gazette:

“We’re always interested in looking for new markets for a professional baseball franchise,” Matt Perry, chief executive officer of Denver-based National Sports Services, said Monday. “We did some preliminary analysis of Champaign County and thought the demographics and business base could support a team.”

The league in question is the Frontier League which is an independent league.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  At least three Illini players played in the FL in 2007

A side benefit of this exciting news is that Illinois Field would get a facelift.  Perry’s group is working with architects on preliminary designs. 

Perry said the vision for the renovation would include a new seating bowl with seating capacity of 3,000 to 4,000; group suites; administrative office space; a new clubhouse or expansion of the current one; hospitality areas; additional restrooms; new ticket windows and additional food and concessions facilities; and a kids play area.

In related news, a week ago, a read a similar article about a group investigating the possibility of a minor league team in Normal, Illinois.  Near as I can tell, the group was an internal one so I wonder how that impacts their plans.

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