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Dec 20, 2017

Frank Thomas interviews Jared White, Vice President of Stephens Inc.’s Public Finance Practice in North Carolina, in this episode of Stephens Viewpoints. Frank and Jared discuss North Carolina’s public finance. Communities are investing in Minor League baseball stadiums, public transportation in light rail lines and bus lines, and in innovative high schools, attracting commerce to downtown and growing their populations.


Key Takeaways:

[:43] In the North Carolina market, and in public finance in general, Jared is seeing a strong attraction to building Minor League baseball stadiums, especially in second-tier markets, to help revitalize downtown communities. North Carolina is the second-most populated state in terms of Minor League ballparks.

[1:22] Communities looking to attract a Minor League team first need to allocate land for a stadium. Land use is a top consideration. Charlotte had a team, but their stadium was in South Carolina. Building a stadium in downtown Charlotte brought their attendance from one of the nation’s lowest, to breaking minor league attendance records.

[2:28] Stephens Public Finance usually comes to the table after a baseball consultant, such as Hardball Capital, who works with the municipality to design the stadium, works with architects to lay it out on the plot, and takes the presentation to the ball club. At that point, Stephens comes in, having a general idea how much it will cost.

[3:19] From there, Stephens will work with the issuer on tailoring a financing plan that meets all of those needs at the lowest cost of capital. Stephens also looks at taxable bonds for this type of project, although upcoming Federal legislation may change that.

[4:11] Sports stadiums are being used as a magnet to attract development to downtown areas in other communities. Baseball is America’s pastime, especially at the affordable price of Minor League tickets for a family outing. There are four stadiums being built in North Carolina. NASCAR stadiums are being repurposed for teams when not in use.

[5:25] Stephens has a lot of stadium experience dating back to the Superdome financing in New Orleans. Stephens does a lot of college and university football and baseball stadium and sports complex financing. Stephens knows the small markets.

[6:08] Over the last 17 years, North Carolina has seen some of the strongest population growth. Most of the growth is in the downtown areas of communities. They are investing in public transportation with Lynx light rail lines and bus systems. Cities are turning high schools into innovative bridge-to-work programs, attracting industry to downtown.

[7:15] Jared says this downtown focus is definitely a trend. The six largest cities in North Carolina are seeing growth in their downtown area and they all have a Minor League presence. This activity attracts restaurants, hotels, other commerce, and really revitalizes and grows the downtown area.

[8:26] For more information on this topic, please contact Stephens Public Finance at 1-800-643-9691. To listen to more Stephens Viewpoints, check out our website.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Stephens Inc.

Stephens Viewpoints Podcast

Hardball Capital



Lynx Lines

Jared White


Securities offered through Stephens, Inc., Member NYSE, SIPC.


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