May 16, 2014

Wichita to transfer National Baseball Congress assets to nonprofit foundation Tuesday

The assets of the National Baseball Congress will be formally transferred by the city to its new nonprofit foundation.

The assets of the National Baseball Congress will be formally transferred by the city to its new nonprofit foundation.

City staff will ask the Wichita City Council – owners of the tournament – to approve the asset transfer during Tuesday’s 9 a.m. meeting at City Hall. The new owner will be the nonprofit NBC Baseball Foundation, incorporated in 2013 by the city.

In addition, the council will consider a resolution to establish the foundation’s board of directors – a nine-member board including seven community members and two members of the council.

Those assets are nominal – between $16,000 and $18,000 – according to city documents. The value of the tournament has been set by the city at $1 million, the price paid when it was acquired by the city in 2007 to keep the annual summer event in Wichita.

Those same documents also note that any liabilities at the time of the transfer are the responsibility of the tournament’s former operators, WB LLC, the owners of the Wichita Wingnuts. An audit of past tournament operations has not been completed, the documents indicate.

The city has retained Bever Dye LLC to handle the legal services for the transition and the foundation.

The city bought the tournament from Bob and Mindy Rich. This year will mark the 80th anniversary of the tournament, which began in 1935 with Satchel Paige as the main attraction. This year’s NBC World Series runs from July 25 through Aug. 9. The Seattle Studs are the defending champions.

Financial problems, late payments to vendors 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 to televise part of the tournament.

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

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