City eager for board to run National Baseball Congress World Series

04/19/2014 2:38 PM

08/06/2014 12:13 PM

City officials hope to have a board of directors in place next month to take over operation of the National Baseball Congress World Series.

The board will run the new nonprofit NBC Baseball Foundation.

City officials announced earlier this month that they will take their tournament back from the current operators, the Wingnuts independent league baseball team. This year’s tournament, the 80th World Series, runs July 25 through Aug. 9.

City Manager Robert Layton said he hopes to have the board appointments on a May council meeting agenda, perhaps as soon as May 6.

The board will have authority to appoint new management for the tournament, negotiate a long-term agreement with an outside management group or negotiate a temporary agreement while longer-term management is sought.

Layton said a temporary agreement is the most likely option, since the tournament begins in about three months. That agreement could be worked out with the Wingnuts under board supervision, he said.

Layton and City Council member Jeff Longwell said they want to get the board in place soon.

“I think you need that board in place before the Wingnuts really get that season rolling,” Longwell said. “This is going to be a transition year with a different agreement than we’ve had in the past. The Wingnuts aren’t going to be responsible for running the NBC.”

The NBC foundation board “isn’t your garden-variety board,” Longwell said. Council members, who will make nominations for the board, say they want specific skills: people knowledgeable about baseball, the tournament and its history, marketing and finances. Frequently, at least one council member joins such city boards.

City officials haven’t publicly said how large the board will be.

The city bought the tournament from Bob and Mindy Rich in 2007 to keep the event in Wichita.

Financial problems and dwindling attendance led the city to launch an internal review of the tournament in fall 2012.

City officials incorporated the foundation last fall, and expect Internal Revenue Service certification as a nonprofit this fall. City attorneys think the tournament already is legally a nonprofit.

That’s important for potential sponsors this summer, who can deduct any sponsorship money from their taxes.

In addition, the city is looking for larger-scale sponsors to help offset television production costs as it tries to lure a national network here to televise part of the tournament.

Any profits eventually generated by the tournament will go toward youth baseball programs, Layton said.

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