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WICHITA, Kansas — For nearly 80 years, it’s been a Wichita tradition bringing many of the biggest names in the history of baseball to Kansas for the annual National Baseball Congress tournament.
But the changing landscape of baseball coupled with a rough economy have left the tournament in debt.
“It’s been a struggle. It has been a struggle for everybody,” said Josh Robertson, Wingnuts GM.
The NBC is owned by the city but run by the Wichita Wingnuts.
A recent audit shows the Wingnuts owe $66,000 in lease payments to the city.
There’s also a dispute over a $72,000 dollar water bill.
Not what city leaders hoped for when they bought the tourney in 2007.
“It is a great tourism attraction. The whole idea is to put us on the map for this level of baseball, and there’s such a legacy in this community for that tournament,” said Bob Layton, Wichita City Manager.
The city and the Wingnuts plan to work together to help rescue the NBC.
They could shorten the annual tournament, increase prize money, or work with local businesses to make it easier for teams to come to Kansas to play.
“That’s people using our business, eating in our restaurants and staying in our hotels. It’s a win/win for us and so we all profit when its successful,” said Layton.
The city and the Wingnuts say the $66,000 in lease payments will be paid off by November, but Wingnuts management say the still don’t agree with the $72,000 water bill.