Convention Sports and Leisure International earlier this month released the results of a feasibility study conducted for a baseball stadium to potentially be included in Jersey Village’s 43-acre town center development planned south of Hwy. 290 at Jones Road. City Council received the report at its July 18 meeting but made no further action on this item.

Taylor Baird, senior analyst with CSL, presented the findings and said the study assessed local market conditions, financial impacts, comparable facilities, utilization and attendance estimates, and a survey of about 600 community members, among other factors. See the full report in this month's meeting packet starting on Page 598.

In February, City Council unanimously authorized City Manager Austin Bleess to sign a letter of intent with KHJR Real Estate Advisory Services to develop the mixed-use property. KHJR’s master plan for Village Center includes 300 apartments, 140 senior living units, a 100-room hotel, a new City Hall to replace the existing facility, office and retail space, a nursing school and a minor league ballpark.

Due to the proximity of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, officials with CSL said Minor League Baseball “would likely not be a fit for a new team in Jersey Village.” Texas has four independent league teams—three in the Pecos League and one in the American Association of Professional Baseball—which could be a viable option for the city.

Baird said CSL found the American Association would be the best fit should a team come to Jersey Village. This league has 12 teams and 100 games per season, 50 being home games and 50 being away. In addition to the sole Texas-based team in Cleburne, teams are based in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa as well as one team in Canada.

Capacity and uses

The average American Association league team has an average seating capacity of 5,914 and in 2019 had an average attendance of 2,903. CSL reported a 4,500-seat stadium would be suitable for Jersey Village—including 3,500 fixed seats and 1,000 berm seats. Premium seating options, such as suites, boxes, club seats and party suites could also be factored in.

Estimates from CSL showed games would have a paid attendance of 3,500 on average at about $17 per ticket.

Between the 50 home games per season and other community events, CSL estimates the stadium could host about 120 events and 225,000 total attendees on an annual basis. Concerts, festivals, and youth and collegiate sporting events could also be held at the site.

Demographics and interest

The CSL study found Jersey Village and the 30-minute drive time radius surrounding it has a growing population of 3.85 million, a younger-than-average median age of 34.2, a steady economic base and a higher-than-average household income of $63,126.

“We pulled the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and really the key takeaway here is that you have the population base, you have disposable income in the area, and you have, outside of COVID[-19], ... a generally stable economic environment to support a team,” Baird said.

However, only 39% of community survey respondents said they believe the Jersey Village area could support a new ballpark and team.

Of the 600 community members surveyed in June—which were not necessarily all residents of Jersey Village—53% said they were casual baseball fans while 26% were avid fans. More than half reported they attend at least one Houston Astros game per season at 57% while 17% attend a Sugar Land Space Cowboys game at least once a season.

Additionally, 66% indicated some interest in attending baseball games at the potential new stadium with 28% saying they definitely would.

Financial impact

According to the feasibility study, the stadium could cost between $29.6 million-$34.1 million to construct. Net income from operations would be just under $800,000 in the first year and steadily increase to nearly $900,000 in the fifth year of operations.

Between property taxes, sales taxes and hotel taxes, the city could generate $26.6 million in fiscal impacts over 30 years of operations at the ballpark and mixed-use development, the study reported. Harris County could generate $63.1 million in fiscal impacts in that time.

Baird said cities take different approaches to finance such projects. Examples include creating a sports authority to act as financing owner of the facility; funding infrastructure surrounding the stadium and having the team ownership cover construction costs for the facility itself; general obligation municipal bonds; and charging ownership payments in lieu of taxes.

Local resident Ashley Brown asked the council to consider these projections when deciding what role the city would play in the development and operations of the ballpark.

“If this was such a good idea, please find a private developer. I'm all for growth, but I don't want it at the expense of our money,” she said.