Name change on the way for Biloxi’s baseball stadium
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Biloxi’s $36 million baseball stadium known as MGM Park is likely changing names soon.
A WLOX investigative report in March showed 2022 revenues paid to Biloxi from events at MGM Park were less than half of what the city needed to cover its annual $1.2 million construction bond.
Beau Rivage President and Chief Operating Officer Brandon Dardeau saw the report and took action.
“A group of us, the executive team, got together and said how can we help and what are the things we could do,” Dardeau said. “The first one is the naming rights that we’re currently not paying the city for. We can give them the opportunity to monetize that and generate some revenue.”
The stadium was named for the parent company of the Beau Rivage after MGM donated the land for the ballpark to be built. Eight years later, MGM is giving up the naming rights to Biloxi.
According to Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, although the deal isn’t finalized, the city is in the beginning stages of finding a stadium naming sponsor.
“We’re asking a number of people if they would have an interest in a pretty good advertising opportunity for the naming rights and field rights,” Gilich said. “That’s being done often in these venues and stadiums. That’s what we’re pursuing right now.”
When the stadium was being proposed, many expected the Beau Rivage to host events in MGM Park. Those expectations never fully materialized, but Dardeau said even with a naming change it’s still possible.
“We’re always interested in some type of partnership,” Dardeau said. “If a promoter comes to us with an offer to do a show at MGM Park, we would be interested in that, but we’re not interested in running shows at an off-site venue.”
Also as part of the agreement, the Beau Rivage plans to transfer the rights of the parking garage next to the stadium and across Highway 90 from the casino to the city. The parking garage was intended to be used by Beau Rivage employees, but now with more guests flying in, the extra space isn’t needed.
“We’re now allowing our employees to park in our parking garage,” Dardeau said. “We think it’s an opportunity for the city. They have work to do on their side to figure out how to operate it and monetize it. We do think it will be a great benefit for both the city and the people coming over to watch a Shuckers game.”
Biloxi’s mayor welcomes the added money-making opportunities.
“We’re looking at an opportunity to raise additional funding on an annual basis to help it offset expenses and some of the things,” Gilich said. “Revenues and expenses are very dynamic, so this will help on the expense side.”
MGM will still have some say over the naming rights. According to Dardeau, restrictions will be in place to potentially prevent Beau Rivage’s direct casino competitors from taking the name of the stadium.
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