The Portland Sea Dogs are planning an $8 million to $10 million upgrade to their facilities at Hadlock Field, and state lawmakers are considering a bill that would give the team a tax credit worth up to $1 million to help pay for it.

Geoff Iacuessa, Sea Dogs president and general manager, said Friday that the new clubhouse and other renovations could cost as much as $10 million, but that final figures are still being worked out. The upgrade is needed to bring the ballpark in line with Major League Baseball’s requirements for its minor league affiliates.

Fans wait in line to get into Hadlock Field for the Portland Sea Dogs home opener against Binghamton Rumble Ponies last spring. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

A bill sponsored by state Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, would give the team tax credits worth 10% of the project – up to $100,000 per year and $1 million total. L.D. 2258 was referred to the Committee on Taxation Thursday.

The planned upgrades would include a double batting cage, weight room, trainers room and kitchen, as well as locker room, coaches’ office space and bathroom facilities. The Sea Dogs’ current clubhouse behind right field would become the visitors’ clubhouse. 

Not everyone is pleased with the proposal. The bill has raised controversy about whether public funds should be used to help finance capital improvements for a professional sports team. It will head to a public hearing March 14.

Jackson said previously that he wasn’t willing to risk the team seeking greener pastures or being lured away by another state. The bill includes a stipulation that the Sea Dogs remain in Maine for at least five years following the completion of the project. 


Iacuessa said the team leaving is not a concern, provided they’re able to meet MLB’s requirements. Those include upgrades in player amenities and fan experiences, which are expected to be completed by 2025.

“The state has been great at working with us and from those conversations this bill was introduced in recognition of our economic and community impact in the state,” Iacuessa said Friday. “We are definitely committed to calling Maine home for the long term.” 

The Sea Dogs have been a fixture in Portland since 1994, when they began play as the Double-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins. The Sea Dogs have been the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox since 2003, and their latest affiliation agreement with the Red Sox runs through the 2030 season. The Sea Dogs’ lease to play at the city-owned ballpark runs through the 2028 season.

The ballclub drew 403,957 fans in the 2023 season, an average of 6,121 for each of the 66 dates at Hadlock Field. That was an increase over the average 2022 attendance of 5,744, and ranked Portland third in the Eastern League, behind Richmond and Hartford, and 18th of 120 teams in affiliated minor league baseball.

The Sea Dogs’ lease calls for a payment on April 1 of $225,000 to the city. The Sea Dogs’ lease payment is determined by the team’s attendance from the previous season. Attendance over 325,000 triggers the maximum lease payment of $225,000.

Staff Writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

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