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York Revolution making changes to boost revenue, improve the fan experience

Written by Gary Haber, York Daily Record | Apr 2, 2015 8:50 AM
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Justin Gibson, of Eastern Sign Technology, installs a new sign in Brooks Robinson Plaza outside Santander Stadium on March 27. The Revs are spending more than 300,000 this off-season on new LED video display boards in the plaza and in the outfield. The display boards will be used, among other things, to show ads, which will generate more revenue for the team. On the sign installed in the plaza, the sides facing North George Street will show electronic ads while the side facing the plaza will have an ad on a vinyl sheet. Photo by Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record.

(York) -- 2014 was a stellar season for the York Revolution.

The team won a first-half divisional title and made the postseason, although they lost to the Sugar Land Skeeters in the opening round of the Atlantic League playoffs.

Regular-season home attendance rose 5.2 percent to 267,695 fans, an average of 3,937 a game at 5,200-seat Santander Stadium. The Revs also increased revenue, although team President Eric Menzer declined to say by how much.

But the Revs are looking for more revenue and fans this season.

The team spent more than $500,000 this off-season on ballpark upgrades and other improvements in an effort to attract even more fans and get advertisers and sponsors to spend more money with the team.

The changes will be on display when the Revs opens their ninth season April 24 against the Long Island Ducks.

The biggest expense was more than $300,000 for two high-definition LED video display boards in the wall in left center field and right center field, and another in Brooks Robinson Plaza facing North George Street. The signs will promote upcoming events at Santander Stadium and the Revs will also sell advertising on them.

But that won't be the only change noticeable this season. The team has added new food offerings and upgraded its ticket system to make it easier for fans to order tickets using their smartphones. And the children's playground beyond the outfield wall is getting a makeover, with new inflatable equipment and a separate play area for toddlers.

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Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record/Sunday News

Jackson Federle, left, and Lewis LaBar assemble a carousel for the playground area at Santander Stadium on March 31. The Revs are creating a separate play area for toddlers and have signed Stauffer's as the title sponsor of the playground.

Stauffer's, the Spring Garden Township baking company, inked a deal to put its name on the play area, the first time in several years the playground has had a title sponsor. The team did not disclose the price for the sponsorship.

"It all goes to this point," Menzer said. "We want people to look at us and say, 'Those guys are always a step ahead, the best entertainment product in York.'"

Off-the-field entertainment is important to the Revs because only about a third of the people who come to the games are hard-core baseball fans, Menzer said. He describes the Revs as "an entertainment and hospitality company that plays baseball on the field."

Families with young children account for a large percentage of the crowd for teams below the Major League level.

That's due in large part to the ticket prices -- which for the Revs range from $8 for a lawn seat to $14 for a dugout box seat. Compare that to the price of a ticket to a Major League Baseball game, which averaged $27.93 in 2014, according to Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index.

"It's a fun event that is attractive and accessible to a larger group of the population because of its pricing," said Robert Chalfin, who owns interests in three minor league baseball teams in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee and is CEO and founder of The Chalfin Group, a business consulting firm in Metuchen, N.J.

Even coming off a season in which they made the playoffs, the Revs are holding the line on ticket prices for 2015 in order to stay competitive with movies, video games and other family-oriented entertainment, Menzer said. The team last raised ticket prices two years ago, he said.

Teams below the majors don't have the lucrative TV contracts that the Major League clubs do. So they rely on revenue from tickets, concessions, advertising, sponsorships and merchandise.

And teams like the Revs, which aren't affiliated with a Major League club, have the added expense of having to pay the salaries of players, manager and the coaching staff. The MLB parent club pays those salaries for affiliated teams, like the Eastern League's Harrisburg Senators, a farm team for the Washington Nationals.

Ticket sales can account for about half of a team's revenue, said Andrew Appleby, the CEO and chairman of General Sports and Entertainment, a sports advisory firm based in Rochester, Mich.

Keeping those fans happy so they return to the ballpark is key, said Appleby, whose firm used to own the Fort Wayne Wizards minor league baseball team.

"It's marketing and sales and customer service," Appleby said. "Which is not too dissimilar to other businesses across other industries."

The Revs are banking the more than half-million dollars they spent will make their fans and sponsors happy, and keep them coming back.

Changes at a glance

Here are some of the new things the Revs have on tap at Santander Stadium this season:

  • New high-definition display boards in the outfield and in Brooks Robinson Plaza
  • New inflatable equipment and a separate toddler playground in the outfield playground, which has been renamed the Stauffer's Playground
  • New food vendors: Mezzogiorno will operate the picnic pavilion in right field. Archie's Deli will replace Mezzogiorno on the third-base concourse. Savory's Pumpkin Funnel Cakes will have a stand on the third-base concourse. Bricker's Famous French Fries will be sold at the first-base concession stand in addition to at its stand in the outfield.
  • New sponsors include Apple Subaru, CJ's Tire and Automotive Services, Hajoca, Marros Law Office, McCallister & Myers Inc. w/Keller Williams Keystone Realty, Sheetz, Trump Lawn and Land Company, United Way Kickoff Campaign
  • New merchandise: The First Capital Federal Credit Union Team Store will have a second location, on the third-base concourse.
  • New promotions include Guaranteed Win Fridays, sponsored by Commonwealth Connections Academy. If the Revs don't win a Friday home game, fans can redeem their ticket for a Revs game later in the season.
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Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record/Sunday News

Lewis LaBar, left, and Jackson Federle assemble a carousel for the playground area at Santander Stadium. Families with children are a large part of the crowd at Revs games, and the team wants to have non-baseball activities to keep them entertained.

 


This article comes to us through a partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF. 

Published in News, York

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