Friday, December 7, 2007

Swinging For Year Round

Wizards hope for a hit with event business
Additional staff will market stadium for non-baseball uses
Link (GFWBW)

"As Harrison Square begins to take shape over the next two years, the Fort Wayne Wizards organization expects to nearly double its staff.

Full-time employment will increase from 15 to about 28 to 30 by the time the new baseball stadium, the centerpiece of the downtown development, opens in 2009.

Jason Freier, CEO of Wizards owner Hardball Capital, said that is a relatively large staff for a Class A minor-league baseball team. But it likely will be required as the team moves to a facility that is expected to generate revenue nearly most of the year, not just during the six-month baseball season."
"Possible non-baseball uses include meetings, weddings, concerts and other events on the field or in the suites, lobbies and other areas of the complex.

City coffers stand to benefit from additional use. If the number of people attending baseball games and other events in which admission or room rental fees are charged exceeds 250,000 in a year, the city would receive $1 for each additional person, according to city’s license agreement with Hardball Capital.

The stadium was designed to handle alternative events. The left-field wall was moved back from its original design to better fit a football field so the stadium could host high-school games in the fall."
"The Dayton Dragons, cited repeatedly by Fort Wayne officials as a downtown baseball success story, does not market its stadium for non-game-day events, said Jeff Stewart, director of ticket sales. The stadium’s suite level has no bar area that can be used, he said.

The new stadium for the Wizards will include a club lounge near the suite level.

“We just missed that when our facility was designed,” Stewart said. “It seems to be something everyone is moving toward.”"