On October 25, 2021, Chris Moran was quoted in Bloomberg Law on cities and states planning to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide grants to minor league baseball teams for expenses such as new turf, brighter lights, and even stadium party decks.
According to the article, the 120 teams comprising the minors have lost over $800 million since the onset of COVID-19. Compounding the financial pressure, each minor league team must invest up to $3 million over the next decade to upgrade its stadium and training facilities or risk losing its professional development licenses, which means the big leagues would stop covering player payroll.
The U.S. Treasury has said it will recoup any funds used on “ineligible” expenses, and is already fighting a dozen states in court over a provision barring use of COVID-relief funds to offset state tax cuts. It’s instructed recipients to follow an outline of COVID-related economic priorities while they await final guidance. Between large cities and counties required by Treasury to report ARPA spending, only 18.1% of funds have been committed so far, according to data from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. The funds must be allocated before 2025 and spent before 2027.
“States and localities have been conservative with spending their money so far,” said Moran. “But with everything these teams have gone through over the past year they probably need this money sooner rather than later.”
“Baseball is the American pastime,” Moran added. “As a practical matter I don’t really see Treasury coming and stopping this.”
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