I took a spin out to the Ottawa Stadium this morning to get a sense of what’s going on since, well, we just don’t know yet what’s in the cards for this summer. Other than a few workers on site doing some repairs, not much was happening. As I was walking around the stadium, I put together a little photo essay for you.
Archive for the ‘Ottawa Stadium’ Category
Marketing Breakthroughs is taking its Ottawa Stadium proposal to the press. Behind the scenes, the company has been trying to convince parks GM Dan Chenier it can manage the stadium for the summer.
For Immediate RELEASE, April 30, 2013
Local Marketing Firm Approaches City to Manage Ottawa Stadium
Former Fat Cats GM Leads Bid to Re-Open Coventry Road Ball Park to the
Community, Little League Baseball and Recreational Men’s Ball Leagues
Ottawa, April 30, 2013 – Marketing Breakthroughs (MB), one of Ottawa’s top marketing firms, has an idea that’s sure to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of amateur baseball players and dozens of community groups in Ottawa.
“We were thinking . . . why not unlock the doors at Ottawa Stadium this summer and offer access to the public, and let them use the Stadium for family-oriented community events, and baseball games for men’s leagues and Little League?” said CEO Steve Klein. And then we asked ourselves “What if an experienced facility manager like MB supplied these services to the City on a turnkey basis??”
Klein has the perfect resource to make this happen: and that’s Duncan MacDonald, former co-founder and General Manager of the Ottawa Fat Cats, who joined MB in March 2012.
“I’ve talked with and emailed dozens of people in my baseball network and they just love the concept,” says MacDonald, “so Steve and I put together an unsolicited letter of interest/proposal and delivered it to Ward 2 Councillor Rainer Bloess two weeks ago.
MacDonald has since followed up with Bloess’ office and Mayor Jim Watson’s office, hoping to get a timely reply to his letter. “This is a pure win-win for the City as the Stadium gets used this summer. Rather than just sitting vacant waiting for a new tenant . . . the city gets some much needed rental revenue. We’ve studied the numbers and if we get started right away, we think we can operate a summer of community programming at pretty much a break even during 2013.”
Duncan knows Ottawa Stadium and how to make it work: he made baseball a financial success with the Fat Cats in 2010 and 2011. Widely credited for resurrecting semi pro baseball in Ottawa after the departure of the Ottawa Lynx and the bankruptcy of the Rapidz, he has more than 20 years of experience as a player, pro scout, coach, general manager and is a former Technical Director at Baseball Canada.
Klein and MacDonald say they are also interested in helping Mayor Watson secure a pro baseball team for the City. They hope to meet with Watson in the next few days to offer their services. “Their needs to be a fresh approach and new marketing strategy for attracting a pro team,” says Klein. “The City has such a beautiful facility and world class ball field . . . it would be a shame to see the park further deteriorate from lack of use. The weeds have already started growing in the infield.
For more on Marketing Breakthroughs, visit www.marketingbreakthroughs.com.
I had a chance after council to ask Mayor Jim Watson about what’s happening at the Ottawa Stadium this summer after his office received the unsolicited proposal I wrote about in the previous blog post. Here’s what he said:
Duncan MacDonald is the former general manager of the Ottawa Fat Cats, the Intercounty Baseball League team that had a fairly successful run at the stadium before its lease expired. That was because the city was pursuing a long-term lease with Beacon Sports Capital Partners, which has been trying to help bring an Eastern League double-A team to Ottawa.
No one anticipated it would take this long to seal a deal. There definitely won’t be pro ball at the taxpayer-owned stadium this summer and it doesn’t look like it’s possible next year, either.
An “expression of interest” by MacDonald and his firm Marketing Breakthroughs to use the stadium this summer has made its way to Mayor Jim Watson’s office in the past week.
MacDonald is proposing to receive a “monthly management fee” of $7,800 between May 1 and Oct. 30, 2013. That would cover management of the stadium, staffing and maintenance of the property, including the parking lot.
The pitch calls for the city to cover $43,350 in expenses and Marketing Breakthroughs would “provide best efforts to replenish seed funding back to the city.” The firm projects revenues of $60,550 from parking, rentals, sponsorships and concessions.
One piece of programming MacDonald is pitching is simply opening up the stadium to use as a park on Sunday afternoons. People could run through the sprinkler and play some frisbee, while the stadium played broadcasts of Toronto Blue Jays games over the speakers.
The Ottawa Sport and Social Club could use the field when the National Capital Men’s Baseball League isn’t, MacDonald proposes. There could be child seat clinics, movie nights and little league ball camps, too, he says.
This will all depend on what the city sees happening this summer at the stadium. A 2011 report says keeping the stadium operating year-round costs $378,500 before any revenues. It would be $280,000 to have it open between May and October. The city could also mothball the stadium, but who knows if that would add more repairs to the lists when it’s ready to open again.
So, the Marketing Breakthroughs proposal might be cheaper for the city, providing both the firm’s and the city’s estimates are accurate for 2013.
May arrives in nine days. It’s hard to believe the city would move fast on this without some kind of tendering process. Plus, council has directed staff to work with Beacon Sports on the stadium lease and no one else. Add to the mix a plan to renovate the stadium if the double-A negotiations are successful.
It’s been a very complicated matter and figuring out what to do with the stadium this year — and next year — might throw another curveball at the city.
So, Mayor Jim Watson is heading to Toronto tomorrow to talk baseball. He’s meeting with the Toronto Blue Jays as the city continues to convince a double-A Eastern League team to relocate to the capital and write a big cheque for stadium upgrades.
Here are some video clips from Watson’s scrum with reporters today on the topic of bringing pro ball back to Ottawa.