Conny Cooper of WTOC.com writes that on Tuesday night, the Columbia City Council voted to build a new, state-of-the-art stadium for Savannah Sand Gnats’ owners Hardball Capital, putting doubt that the team will remain in the Historic Grayson Stadium.
The Sand Gnats contract to stay at Savannah’s Grayson Stadium expires at the end of the 2014 season.
Cooper adds that Hardball Capital has asked the city of Savannah to help pay for upgrades to the stadium, or to build a new stadium entirely and if this is not agreed upon then the owners of the Sand Gnats may move the team to Columbia, SC.
According to Hardball Capital CEO, Jason Freier, he wants to keep the team in Savannah but cannot afford to stay in Grayson as it currently stands, and cannot pay for upgrades, keep ticket prices low, and turn a profit.
Freier tells WTOC Channel 11 that the Sand Gnats struggle to attract fans, and when they do, as with the teams opening day, it is hard to get everyone in the stands, served food and drink, and in and out of limited bathroom space in a timely fashion. They also had to turn away 1500 fans.
“A lot of the fans who came on opening day spent an awful lot of their time in line and not enjoying the game, or Grayson Stadium, or anything like that,” Freier said. “And, the problem is if we don’t draw people, we are not going to be successful, but when we are successful drawing people, we have a difficult time serving them.”