Simplified: The new owners of Sioux Falls' city baseball team have invested $1 million in their first half-year. They're also eyeing a goal of an MLB minor league affiliate partnership within the next several years.
"We have re-hatched the Canaries, and we're excited for our future," said Jack Fossand, assistant general manager.
Why it matters
- Sioux Falls Stadium – aka The Birdcage – operates at a loss, which means it costs taxpayers money each year to stay open. (In the current budget year, the stadium is projected to lose $328,000.)
- In fact, a 2019 task force recommended tearing down The Birdcage and just starting over somewhere new, the Argus Leader reported at the time.
- But the new owners at True North Equity Partners say they want to be part of the solution in closing the gap on that debt and "re-hatching" the Canaries in the community.
"We've got to continue to earn the right from the fans and citizens to become part of the fabric of this community," True North Founder Brian Slipka told the City Council Tuesday.
What improvements have happened so far?
True North has overseen improvements including a new Daktronics scoreboard and a new playground area for kids.
The new owners also implemented the Canaries Community Fund, a six-figure initiative of the Slipka Foundation geared at funding "micro-scholarships" for middle and high school students in need of help paying fees to play sports or extracurricular activities.
What happens next?
The vision presented to councilors Tuesday includes short-term goals of improving the game day experience and investing in the community.
Long-term goals in the three- to seven-year strategy include potentially becoming a MLB minor league affiliate team.
"It's exciting to really put the Canaries back on the map," City Councilor Christine Erickson said Tuesday. "I'm hopeful, and I'm excited about the renewed energy."