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Negotiations continue to keep Mets in Syracuse with $26 million package

Ellen Abbott
WRVO Public Media
NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse.

As negotiations continue between Onondaga County and the New York Mets to keep the region’s minor league baseball team, the Syracuse Chiefs, in central New York, the county is offering a multimillion dollar package to keep the Mets in Syracuse for decades.

County legislature chairman Ryan McMahon said lawmakers are looking at a package that includes $8.5 million in local spending, naming rights revenue, in-kind services and a match from the state, totaling around $26 million to improve NBT Bank Stadium.

“We’re excited about the opportunity," McMahon said. "Obviously, our main goal is a long-term lease with the Mets, 25 years, AAA baseball. To get that kind of commitment from the Mets, we need to, obviously, invest in our own building, that we haven’t invested a lot in in the last 20 years.”

He said smaller items, like painting, could be completed next year, while larger amenities and projects that drive the fan experience would not be done until 2020.

The Mets bought the community-owned Chiefs a year ago, and could move the team away if they wanted to. The current agreement keeps the Chiefs in Syracuse through 2025. Last year, the Mets chief operating officer said they planned to be in Syracuse long-term.

Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher said they are optimistic a final lease can be agreed to before October 9, when the county legislature could vote on it.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.