Nueces County Commissioners last week unanimously approved a recommendation to retain Global Spectrum as the management firm for the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.
County leaders had opted last month to put the contract out for bid, reaching out to three different companies — Global Spectrum, Glen Rose-based Dooley Management Co. and SMG — to gauge each firm’s interest in managing the fairgrounds.
SMG currently manages the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, but did not submit a bid, Purchasing Agent Elsa Saenz said during the commissioner’s June 29 meeting.
Dooley Management sent a letter to the county stating the company would not be submitting a bid due to ongoing projects.
Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum has been managing the fairgrounds since the facility opened in 2007.
The firm was given a new two-year deal in 2009 that lowered its fee and revenue benchmarks, a move designed to provide the company with a better chance to attain possible incentives for reaching those revenue totals. That county paid the company an annual management fee of about $160,000.
While the fairgrounds has struggled to generate revenue during its brief time in existence, Global Spectrum has helped the facility meet its budget the past two years. Estimates provided earlier this year by county officials also showed the facility was on track to see a slight increase in revenue compared to last year.
Frank Russo Jr., Global Spectrum’s senior vice president for business development and client relations, informed commissioners that the company would be willing to take over marketing and use of the now-vacant Fairgrounds Field.
The county’s prior management agreement with Global Spectrum did not include the baseball field, but the firm has overseen the facility on a temporary basis during periods when there was no baseball club in place.
“It seems logical to us,” Russo said, adding that the inclusion of the baseball field to any future agreement would be done at no added cost to the county.
Fairgrounds General Manager Jason Green said he feels the facility is on the verge of becoming a greater center of activity for Nueces County. Many of the fairgrounds’ employees are also local residents, he added.
“We all are one team and we really feel very much a part of the community,” Green said
County Judge Loyd Neal, one of the more outspoken critics of expenditures at the fairgrounds since it first opened, gave credit to Global Spectrum for helping to lower operating costs and raise revenue at the facility.
“We appreciate the effort you’ve put out there,” Neal said.
On Friday, Green elaborated on Global Spectrum’s potential involvement with the baseball stadium.
He said the firm’s management of the facility could change once a permanent tenant is found for the facility, whether it be a baseball team or other sport, to a more supportive role.
For now, though, the firm’s focus would be on finding a potential tenant, which would alleviate that duty from county leaders.
“We can field and take those phone calls,” Green said.
County officials must now meet with Global Spectrum to come to terms on a contract, which could entail another change in the firm’s fee and any other incentives.
The company’s duties include management and operation of the facilities, planning, food service, organizing, promoting, directing, booking, marketing, ticketing, controlling, security, cleaning and minor facility maintenance.