Warner and Kaine go to bat for Virginia minor league baseball teams

Harbor Park, home of the Norfolk Tides Minor League baseball team (Courtesy City of Norfolk)

UNITED STATES – Les Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), as well as the Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) rally together today by introducing the Minor League Baseball Relief Act to help the nine Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams in Virginia who are suffering economically after the COVID-19 crisis has cast a curve in their 2020 season. The Minor League Baseball Relief Act would provide up to $ 550 million in federal relief funds to MiLB teams, which are important economic engines in Commonwealth communities because baseball fans come to watch games and end up patronizing local businesses like restaurants, hotels and other attractions. The accompanying legislation was presented to the House of Representatives by Heavyweight Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV).

“For many working families, attending a weekend Minor League baseball game in Commonwealth stadiums is an affordable and fun family outing,” said Senator Warner. “Baseball is not only America’s hobby, it is also an economic lifeline for many communities. However, like many small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our minor league baseball teams in Virginia and across the country have struggled mightily to keep the lights on. Since there was no minor league baseball season in 2020 due to the pandemic, many of these teams suffered heavy financial losses that were not significantly alleviated by existing economic relief programs. for small businesses. I am happy to work with my colleagues on this bill which would allow these local treasures to access economic aid.

“Baseball isn’t just America’s favorite pastime, bringing together friends and family; it is also a vital economic engine for the Commonwealth, ”said Senator Kaine. “Community teams in Virginia support our local economy and create jobs. The pandemic has taken its toll on this beloved sport, and I am proud to present this bipartisan legislation to help MiLB teams navigate this economic crisis. “

The bases are loaded in Virginia, with nine Commonwealth MiLB teams eligible for financial relief under the Minor League Baseball Relief Act, which include:

  • Fredericksburg Nationals (formerly Potomac)
  • Tides for norfolk
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels
  • Lynchburg cats
  • Danville Otterbots (formerly Braves)
  • Pulaski River Turtles (formerly Yankees)
  • Salem Red Sox
  • Bluefield Ridge Runners (formerly Blue Jays)
  • Bristol State Lines (formerly Pirates)

The Minor League Baseball Relief Act is said to be modeled after the successful Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG) program, which provided much needed assistance to places like theaters, museums or concert halls that were forced to close due to necessary COVID-19 security measures.

Specifically, the Minor League Baseball Relief Act:

  • Reallocate up to $ 550 million in COVID-19 relief funds for an emergency grants program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would otherwise be returned to the US Treasury.
  • Provide grants to eligible clubs up to a maximum of $ 10 million. Eligible expenses include salary costs, current business expenses (e.g. rent, utilities), worker protection expenses, and payments made to independent contractors.
  • Offer the possibility of a second grant at 50% of the first if a club’s income does not recover and does not significantly exceed its 2019 total.
  • Require strict SBA oversight through documentation, review of use and audit on grant funding, and applies to any minor league baseball team that was previously part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, but not to any club majority owned by Major League Baseball.

To read the invoice, click here.

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