By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
October 22, 2015 | 8:00 PM EST.
The future of independent baseball in Camden is in question.
The Camden Riversharks have ceased operations in Camden after the team failed to reach a lease agreement with Campbell's Field ownership, the club announced Wednesday.
"We would like to thank our partners and fans for supporting the club for 15 memorable seasons," the team said in a release. "We did everything we could to keep affordable, family entertainment alive and well in Camden."
The Camden County Improvement Authority bought Campbell's Field in April of this year and immediately put plans in place for a $1 billion development of offices, homes and retail spaces on lots adjacent to the stadium, a factor that would likely make the stadium a more attractive place for a team to move.
With the Riversharks now out, reports are surfacing that Camden County officials potentially may be eyeing an MLB-affiliated team to play in Campbell's Field. Before any deal can be worked out, however, it will need a stamp of approval from the Phillies as the stadium sits adjacent to the Ben Franklin Bridge.
The Camden County Improvement Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Riversharks celebrated their 15th anniversary this past season. The club played in the independent Atlantic League and last qualified for the playoffs in 2008.
According to team general manager Lindsay Rosenberg, over 3.5 million fans attended Riversharks games dating back to 2001.
The founder and original owner of the Riversharks was Steve Shilling, a South Jersey real estate developer who died in 2003.
Campbell's Field twice has been recognized as "Ballpark of the Year" by Baseball America, thanks in part to its picturesque setting with beautiful views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline.