The home of the Rockford Rivets minor league baseball team finally as a new owner.
Since 2012, Rivets Stadium in Loves Park has been owned by Northside Community Bank in suburban Chicago. The bank took control when it foreclosed on the stadium’s original owners. Now River Rock Properties has purchased the stadium with the hope of bringing stability to Rivets and minor league baseball in general to the Stateline and potentially a better product.
River Rock Properties is based in Dayton, Ohio. It purchases sports entertainment opportunities. Its CEO is Gary Mayse. He has a lengthy history with minor league baseball. He worked for 16 years for Mandalay Baseball properties and he also was the general manager of the Dayton Dragons minor league baseball team.
He shared some background information on River Rock Properties and his thoughts on the potential for Rivets Stadium and the Rockford baseball market with me in a phone interview Monday evening. Here is that interview:
(Gary Mayse, CEO River Rock Properties) “I’m based out of Dayton, Ohio. Basically we’re into different types of sports opportunities. When we saw that the stadium was available for sale that is something that I particularly had an interest in and thought it would be one good asset for our organization. We’re obviously in the sports entertainment business and we think there’s a lot of good things to come in the Rockford community and we very much want to be a part of that.”
(Scott) Attendance at Rivets games has not been good. What makes you believe that that can change and that this will be a good investment for River Rock?
(Mayse) That’s a very good question Scott. Look I’ve had opportunities to meet with Chad Bauer who is the general manager of the Rivets. I’ve also had opportunities to talk to Dick Radatz Jr. (owner of the Rivets). I know that they’re just starting up their third year of operation there. We believe that they can continue the upswing and hopefully we can just be owners that can give them the support to do that.”
(Scott) How committed are you to the future of Rivets baseball or minor league baseball in general in Rockford. Should people be concerned here that we might lose minor league baseball?
(Mayse) “No I don’t think that the Rockford community should be seen as they’re going to lose baseball because that’s not the case. We did this because we’re very excited about the community of Rockford. We think that the horizon for the Rockford community is very bright and we’re going to look forward to not only owning and operating the stadium but obviously having the Rivets there we’re also looking at other entertainment opportunities for the stadium as we get further into it and also we’re looking forward to being a bigger part of the community overall.”
Note: Mayse says River Rock Properties will honor the Rivets’ current stadium lease agreement. There are three years remaining on an original five year lease. Mayse wouldn’t reveal how much River Rock paid for the stadium. The Original mortgage when the stadium was built was for $4.7 million.