New Amphitheater in Bridgeport Creates yet Another Arena Issue

Background

The Bridgeport Bluefish, a baseball team, were the first professional team in the City of Bridgeport, dating all the way back to 1998. Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim was the leading name behind the construction of the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, as well as the Webster Bank Arena. Ganim was the mayor of Bridgeport from 1991-2003. However, in 2003, Ganim was charged with 16 federal counts: one count each of racketeering, extortion, racketeering conspiracy, and bribery; two counts of bribery conspiracy; eight counts of mail fraud, and two counts of filing a false tax return. He resigned from office two weeks later. During this time, the Bluefish and Sound Tigers were still in their early years, and both teams were led by their original owners: the Bluefish’s being Mickey Herbert, and the Sound Tigers being Islanders founder Roy Boe and his family.

By 2006, new ownership would take over the Bluefish, and the Islanders had bought the Sound Tigers. In 2012, Bluefish got new ownership under Frank Boulton, owner of Atlantic League rival the Long Island Ducks. By 2016, the AHL team had a new ownership group along with their parent Islanders.

Ballpark and Arena

Bluefish out, Amphitheater in

This season, the Bluefish are in their twentieth season in the Atlantic League. Many former major leaguers have played for the ‘Fish, including guys like, Endy Chavez, and many players have visited Harbor Yard as visitors, like Ryan Lavarnway,  Pete Rose Jr. and Jose Offerman.

In 2010, after seven years in prison, Joe Ganim was released. Five years later, he ran for office in Bridgeport once again, and thanks to modern politics, he is somehow is back in office. This month, the city informed the Bluefish that the team would have to shutdown, as the ballpark would be turned into a 5,000 seat 29-date concert venue led by former Sound Tiger president, and local developer Howard Saffan, who was the president of Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment from 2004-2015 and concert giant Live Nation, and famed local concert promoter Jim Kopik.

Now, you may be asking. What does this have to do with the Sound Tigers? Recently, Islanders and Sound Tigers owner Jon Ledecky objected to the idea, stating in a letter sent to City Hall, that it was grave for the city. Ledecky also stated that it was a “noncompetition” to the Sound Tigers. Ledecky also stated “that would compete… for events and would have a material adverse impact on… revenue generation… I therefore urge you to reconsider this course of action.” Ledecky also noted “for if the city accepts the proposal, the Sound Tigers will be forced to exercise all of their rights under the operating agreement.” The two sides have each claimed that each owe each other money, recently. The Sound Tigers’ lease with the city ends in 2021, and this dissension could possibly force the Sound Tigers to have some arena drama of their own when their lease ends.

That’s right. You heard it here on drive4five first: just like the Islanders, the Sound Tigers may have some arena issues of their own in the near future.

One thought on “New Amphitheater in Bridgeport Creates yet Another Arena Issue

  1. If Ledecky claims the lease is being violated, can he move the team this week if he pleases? Doesn’t he want the Tigers to play on the Island anyway? Isn’t he just using this amphitheater as an excuse to get them out?

    How unusual is it for AHL teams that have already put out a schedule and sold tickets to move? Is there any chance the Islanders-Rangers preseason game is in jeopardy of being moved? Is the fact that the Sound Tigers don’t play a home preseason game a coincidence, or is that normal practice? Was this a small, spiteful move by Ledecky?

    I have a Sound Tiger flex plan, live in CT, and have enjoyed watching Isles prospects and has-beens playing in my backyard for years. I’m sad to see it all come to an end, but I understand that attendance at these games is pathetic.

    Like

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