The Maryland Stadium Authority issued $98.5 million in bonds to finance the improvement of minor league baseball stadiums across the state.
The authority sold the bonds in two series. The Series 2023A bonds, consisting of $20.1 million, mature between 2025 and 2052, yielding between 3.8% and 5.04%. The Series 2023B bonds, consisting of $78.4 million, mature between 2025 and 2033, yielding between 3.8% and 3.97%. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings each assigned the securities a rating of AA.
The bonds are limited obligations of the authority, payable by a pledge from the state on certain Maryland Lottery proceeds.
“The ‘AA’ rating reflects limited growth prospects for lottery fund deposits, robust resilience of the security structure even including all other programs with claims on pledged revenues, and required appropriation of pledged revenues for deposit in the financing fund,” Fitch analysts wrote.
The Series 2023A bonds will fund the construction of a new stadium in Hagerstown, which is expected to open next year. In the upcoming spring, the stadium will host the inaugural season of the Hagerstown Flying Boxcars in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent minor league.
Hagerstown, a city of 40,000 in northwest Maryland, has long been a baseball city. It has sent little league teams to the Little League World Series three times since 1950, but participation has waned since Hagerstown’s previous minor league team disbanded in 2020. Officials involved with the Flying Boxcars are hopeful that the team can restore baseball’s charm, especially for the city’s youth.
The Series 2023B bonds will finance renovations to four other minor league baseball stadiums throughout the state.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc and Siebert Williams Shank & Co, LLC served as underwriters on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for more than $103 million. The price reflected a premium of $5 million.