MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans will play their final home game under the original 20-year lease on their stadium Thursday night.
There’s no agreement for the baseball team to stay yet, but the city’s only professional sports franchise doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
“It’s certainly time to look forward to the next 20 years,” said Myrtle Beach Pelicans owner Chuck Greenberg.
With no playoff games this season, the Pelicans, a class-A advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are wrapping up their 2018 schedule at TicketReturn.com Field.
What’s also ending is the city and Horry County’s debt for the $12 million stadium built in 1999.
“The stadium will be paid for next month,” said city spokesperson Mark Kruea. “That concludes the 20-year lease agreement that we had originally.”
Myrtle Beach’s city council passed first reading Tuesday of an extension to the lease, which would keep the Pelicans in the city for three more years.
“That three-year period gives us time to jointly pick a consultant who will come in and say, alright, your baseball stadium is 20 years old,” Kruea said. “It needs this and that. Then, figure out who pays for this and that.”
Greenberg says over the next three years, the team, city and county will look for a much longer deal.
“That’s what we’re contemplating here, but we’re not prejudging anything,” he said. “Let’s have the work done. Let’s get the advice of the experts and then we can go from there.”
Greenberg also says the Pelicans’ front office hasn’t thought of playing anywhere but Myrtle Beach.
“It’s certainly, we think, the most unique community in Minor League Baseball because, depending on the week or the month, the community can take on so many different shapes and sizes,” Greenberg said.
Myrtle Beach city council must pass a second reading of the lease extension. Horry County council would also need to approve the extension.
Greenberg says the Pelicans have spent $4 million on improvements at TicketReturn.com Field.