$1 use agreement in the works for Madison Mallards’ Duck Pond

MADISON, Wis.– The Madison Mallards will remember 2020 as the year baseball was illegal in Dane County.

The Duck Pond at Warner Park sits in silence.

“Best case scenario, we won’t play a home baseball game for about 21 months,” President Vern Stenman said.

Stenman said the 2020 season was a strikeout financially, and it’s going to take more than selling out a couple of ball games to get back on base.

“We’re basically one of the only businesses in our community right now that really can’t go back in any way, shape or form to the core of what we do,” Stenman said.

So, the Mallards are looking to the City of Madison for an assist.

A possible lease agreement would lower rent from $67,195 to $1 in 2021. The Mallards would also pay the city $1 for every ticket sold over 125,000 tickets.

“If we get back to full capacity and selling games out again, the city is going to make about the same in rent back from us that they would in a typical year,” Stenman said.

The Board of Park Commissioners approved the lease agreement in early November.

“This is not a sweetheart deal. This is just working together with a partner who has been there and expect that they will be there when we come out of this,” Alder Paul Skidmore said.

Skidmore is referring to the improvements the Madison Mallards have invested into the ballpark using its own money.

Stenman said the organization has spent over $7 million on land that belongs to the city.

“The history of baseball in Madison has been long and drawn out,” Senior Planner Alan Martin said. “Having a presence at that park, bringing people to that park, bringing people to that community and contributing to that east side economy is a big deal.”

While the season was a loss financially, Stenman said the team was undefeated in giving back to the community.
“Buying a ticket for me is a reflection of your affinity for what the experience is of the Mallards both inside the stadium and in the community,” Stenman said.

The Madison Common Council is expected to take up the second amendment of the use agreement on Tuesday. If approved, the agreement will be valid through 2021.