South Korean

The LG Twins draw huge crowds at their home field in South Korea and are now hoping to make Scottsdale a Spring Training home. 

A deal pending before Scottsdale City Council would bring a second professional baseball team to the city beginning next spring.

On Monday, Council will consider a three-year agreement to host the LG Twins for Spring Training at Indian School Park.

Not to be confused with Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, the LG Twins are a professional franchise owned by electronics giant LG Corporation that plays in South Korea’s KBO League.

The Giants, which have called Scottsdale its spring home since the 1980s, have held some spring activities and minor league operations at the park since 1982.

But the Giants are relocating those operations to Papago Sports Complex, which sits within Phoenix city limits at the border with Scottsdale near McDowell Road and 64th Street.

In 2019, Scottsdale entered into a lease agreement with Phoenix for space at Papago and then subleased that space to the Giants.

The Giants will continue to play Cactus League home games at Scottsdale Stadium, which just underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion.

The Papago deal paved the way for Scottsdale’s deal with the LG Twins, which had rented space from Phoenix in the past on a year-to-year basis.

Negotiations to bring the Twins to Scottsdale have been ongoing since spring 2018, said city Parks and Recreation Manager Chris Walsh, the city’s point person in negotiations with the team. The LG Twins did not respond to a request for comment.

The three-year deal would keep the Twins in Scottsdale through 2023 and includes two possible one-year extensions.

“They don’t want to go out and try to source new venues every single year because certainly that’s a lot of effort,” Walsh said.

Under the deal, the LG Twins will have access to fields and clubhouse facilities.

For 2021 only, the team will share some of those facilities, including a half-field and an indoor batting cage, with the Giants.

The Twins will also use a temporary clubhouse and weight room in 2021 while the Giants continue to occupy the permanent facilities.

The revenue generated by the city will largely depend on the number of days the team uses the park.

Phoenix, which last hosted the Twins in 2018, charged the team $42,000 for a little over one month of use but that contract was structured differently from the pending agreement with Scottsdale.

Phoenix’s agreement included two base charges of $9,900 for Jan. 22-30 and $32,100 for Jan. 31-Feb.21.

Scottsdale opted to go with daily and hourly rates.

The Scottsdale contract does not include a set schedule for each year but the team is required to notify the team of its proposed schedule by Nov. 30.

Under the agreement, the Twins will pay $400 per day for the clubhouse, $60 an hour per field and $20 per half field and $75 per field for field preparation.

The team also must pay $20 per field per hour for lights, $150 per day for the indoor batting cage and $100 per day for the outdoor cage.

If the team requires city staff assistance, it will cost $30 per hour per person and $45 per hour per person for overtime.

Scottsdale could also generate some bed-tax revenues from the deal, which requires the team to “use best efforts” to book hotel rooms in Scottsdale.

Walsh said the city went with the daily/hourly fee structure because of the way the Twins plan to use the facility.

“Their workouts tend to be a little bit different compared to Major League Baseball,” Walsh said. “They typically will go longer days and have a few more days off in between, and as far as with estimating these things… we wanted to make sure we captured all of those costs.”

Even with the Twins coming to Indian School Park, local adult and youth teams will still have access to its fields.

Walsh said the pending deal gives the Twins exclusive access to two and one-half fields at the park and leaves the remaining fields available for rent by local teams.

“We will still have the other two fields open at that time,” Walsh said. “If LG want to expand or feels the need to expand, we would have that conversation.”

It is unclear if the Twins plan to play exhibitions in front of fans in Scottsdale but Walsh said it is a possibility.

“I think in the future, we definitely would want to explore some of the inter-squad opportunities, whether it’s with the Giants or a local university team or even some of the other spring training teams,” Walsh said. “I think they would certainly be open to it, and hopefully the others will be as well.”

The contract includes COVID-19 protections in the event travel restrictions put in place by the U.S. or South Korea stop the team from traveling to Scottsdale.

If the team gives 20 days notice that it will not be able to use the facility, it is not obligated to pay.

The contract also requires the team and its players to abide by all state and local pandemic-related regulations.

When the Twins will actually arrive in Scottsdale is largely dependent on the pandemic.

“Even if 2021 doesn’t happen due to possible restrictions, we still want to have a contract for the next (few) years though,” Walsh emailed JD Kim, special assistant to the general manager for the LG Twins.