What Madison wants in a minor league baseball stadium may be too expensive

MADISON, Ala. - Last week, the city of Madison approved a resolution that would hire Populous, an architecture firm known for designing baseball stadiums, to come up with a schematic for a minor league stadium located in Town Madison.

Of course, the entire project hinges on the city actually relocating the Mobile BayBears.

Michael Young is used to living in a major league town, so he's excited about the possibility of Minor League baseball potentially coming to Madison.

“I think it would do a lot for community spirit and just something to get everybody together to kind of rally behind it," says Young.

The city made it clear, some of the renderings that have been published so far were not commissioned by the city and may not be in their price range.

"It can be anywhere, 35-45 million dollar range if you’re looking to do a multi-use venue," Finley told WHNT News 19 in an interview on November 8th.

The closest ballpark in that price range is Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, built by the same architecture firm slated to design Madison's stadium,

Montgomery spent the equivalent of $33 million dollars, if the price is adjusted to current inflation levels. It seats 7,000 fans and that includes spaces in luxury suites.

That's a big contrast compared to the Mobile BayBears current home - Hank Aaron Stadium.

Built in the 1990s, the city spent $11 million in inflation-adjusted dollars, with 6,000 seats including field-level luxury boxes.

For Young, his first priority for a new stadium would be admission price.

"Cheap tickets so you could go there as much as you want and not too expensive," says Young.

Beyond that, he's hoping for in-game entertainment that can help attract entire families that consist of some non-baseball fans.

“We can cheer for them, we can go watch them, get everybody together, you know, take a night out with the family or friends," he says.

With those amenities comes a big price tag.

Up in Nashville, Populous built First Tennessee Park, that features an outfield restaurant, mini golf, and other games.

Price = $91 million dollars.

Mayor Finley has also stipulated there must be a "multi-use" component to the stadium.

"One of the things that’s critical is that we need a place that could house 3, 4, 500 people for a sit-down meal. We can’t do that in Madison right now," Finley told us last month.

Finley referenced Birmingham's stadium as an example of what Madison needs.

“If you look at places like Regions Field down in Birmingham, they have an area and some place where sit down meals can occur. They can watch a game if we were able to land that," he said.

But Regions Field is also out of the Mayor's price range.

The total cost was $65 million with 8,500 seats including luxury boxes.

So can Madison afford the stadium it wants and needs?

We'll have to wait to find out until Populous returns to Madison with a design.

To move the Mobile BayBears to Madison, the new owners will have to get the Southern League along with Minor and Major League Baseball to approve to relocation.

Also, no word yet if Madison has been officially picked as the ideal city to relocate the team.