by Kimberly Pena
NEW BRITAIN- Mayor Erin Stewart is hoping with the new baseball team in town, it will revitalize the city once again. However, economical experts seem to believe the New Britain Bees will not cause an economic boom as hoped for.
Donn M. Johnson, a Interim Chair of Economics and a professor of Sports Economics at Quinnipiac University, suggests that bringing a new team to a town does little to none economical improvement.
According to Johnson, if the people who are going to the games are largely local then it is just arranging the way town citizens use their money. For example, the eight dollars used to buy a game ticket could instead be used to buy a small pizza from a local business owner. The only thing being changed is where the eight dollars are being spent.
“Benefits are going largely to owners, not really to the community,” said Johnson. “Not much will change within the town.”
If those attending the games are out of town, then it probably could lead to some potential change to the New Britain economy. However, minor league teams affiliated with Major League baseball usually do not attract many out of town citizens to the games, so for the situation to be any different for an Atlantic League Baseball team, who are not associated with Major League baseball, seems unlikely, said Johnson.
Mayor Erin Stewart seems to think otherwise. She believes bringing in the new team would continue on New Britain’s strong legacy of baseball.
“Every year, minor league baseball draws hundreds of thousands of residents, families, and visitors to the games at New Britain stadium,” said Stewart. “I wanted to make sure that tradition continues.”
The moves came after the Yard Goats, formerly known as the Rock Cats, announced on June 2014 that they would be relocating themselves to Hartford. The team left behind unpaid utility bills of up to $150,000.
According to the Hartford Courant, the team has not reimbursed the town for the gas, electricity, water and sewer bills it used up in its final season in New Britain. The bills due are as followed: $80,582.62 to Eversource, $47,907.37 to TransCanada, $8,635.85 to Connecticut Natural Gas and $12,245.37 for water and sewer use.
Yard Goats officials said they will keep their end of the deal and pay the bills out in the upcoming four months.
With the Rock Cats already behind her, Stewart plans to use the Bees as a way to fill the void that the Rock Cats left.
The lease that the town negotiated with the team officials was approved just last year. The organization will pay $150,000 a year in rent, pay all the electricity and utility bills and the team will receive all the parking revenue.
Under the terms, the team is guaranteed to stay in their new home for the next 20 years.
The agreement comes with great pleasure to New Britain Bees General Manager, Patrick Day, who was named team GM just last December. He appreciates the baseball history that New Britain offers and believes that the Bees are a perfect fit.
“Its history that New Britain has had, its always been a successful market,” said Day.
Day also said the team currently has 12 full-time employees in the front office and when the summers comes along, up to 200 part-time workers could be employed.
However, according to Johnson, these are not the type of jobs one would like to have for their town to improve the economy. He says usually those who take on those part-time jobs are young people and students who know it is not a lifetime employment and are willing to be paid minimum wage.
“No one is getting rich from this,” said Johnson.
But team officials are happy the way the town citizens have responded and are looking forward to the beginning of this new journey.
The team is already off to a positive start in ticket sales, as they have sold close to 500 full season tickets, says Day. A full season ticket is worth $500 and a single game ticket is worth eight dollars. Parking costs five dollars.
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 860-826-BEES (2337), or visit nbbees.com.