WICHITA, Kansas – It’s been a Wichita institution for 80 years, but as control of the National Baseball Congress World Series shifts to a non-profit foundation, there’s concern some of the start-up costs will be footed by taxpayers.
“They’re trying to establish what the operational point of view is going to be, are they going to have a tournament director dedicated to the World Series, or are they still going to work and operate with the Wingnuts organization,” Kevin Jenks, the tournament’s director, said. “So I think there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered, and probably need to be answered in a short amount of time.”
The non-profit NBC Foundation, formed by the city of Wichita, will now be tasked with operating the annual tournament.
But before that can happen, the board says it needs to figure out how much money it will need to start off as an independent entity, and will likely need city money in addition to fundraising to do it.
“Well, we know the City Council is supportive of the NBC and they put us in charge of that,” Steve Shaad, the foundation board chairman, said. “There’s always a possibility that we go back to them and ask for some financial assistance to get started.”
Jenks estimated the foundation would need between $250,000 and $300,000 in start-up costs to get to work on the tournament.
But before the foundation starts looking for that money, it formed a committee to create a budget, and would like to complete an economic impact study to show what the tournament does for city businesses.
“You’re talking about 32 teams coming in to stay in hotel rooms, eat at restaurants, rent cars,” Shaad said. “They’re doing stuff while they’re here, so it has a huge economic impact.”