Lookouts' sale spurs fear of team's relocation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lookouts' sale spurs fear of team's relocation

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SPORTS - Chattanooga Lookouts SPORTS - Chattanooga Lookouts
"I didn't know anything about it, who bought them?"

Chattanooga's Pat & Marie Sugrue echo the sentiments of nearly everyone we spoke to regarding the reported impending sale of the Lookouts to Middle Georgia businessman John Hughes.

 "I think the Lookouts are tremendous for Chattanooga , I hope we don't move, that would not be good," says Van Townsend outside downtown's Bluewater Grille.

"I think there's a very miniscule to zero chance of the lookouts moving," says Chattanooga Times-Free Press sportswriter David Paschall, who broke the story Friday and says the team's prospective new owner has given up on the idea of bringing any team to Warner Robins, Georgia.

"I've got a copy of the letter that he wrote to the county commissioners in late March where was, it's over, don't bother me," says Paschall during his afternoon radio show on ESPN 105.1 The Zone.

Despite Paschall's certainty, the team's current owner and management will not comment, citing stipulations of the proposed sale.

Catty-corner to AT & T Field, Hilton Garden Inn's desk manager Mark Zielke says he hopes the team stays, but understands the business side of a possible move.

"They're really not going to affect us bottom line, it was just great for families," says Zielke.

"I think the Lookouts bring a lot of business downtown to the restaurants," says Marie Sugrue, who openly wonders how much the team's potential departure could dampen downtown growth.

Terms of the deal have yet to be revealed, but Paschall reports buying the team will cost roughly 12 and a half million dollars.

"I've even heard as far as some of the contract stipulations that it includes capital improvements to AT & T Field," says Paschall, diminishing the chances of a potential team relocation.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke had this to say, reacting to news of the team's sale. "Each year, hundreds of thousands of fans enjoy the Chattanooga Lookouts.While the location of a sports franchise is ultimately the decision of the owner, we will make sure that any new owner understands that Chattanooga is a great place to do business."

Lookouts President Rich Mozingo says he's unaware of any economic impact study of the team's influence on the local economy.

Our efforts to contact the reputed buyer were unsuccessful.

Paschall says the sale, if approved, is weeks if not months ahead.
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