Here is an interesting article on the business of independent baseball and minor league hockey, focusing on the two industries as they pertain to Bridgeport, CT: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Bluefish-Sound-Tigers-struggle-to-make-gains-in-300533.php
What is interesting about this article is that it talks about declining attendance in the Bridgeport market and less than ideal corporate support. The comment from the hockey team’s (affiliated with the NHL’s New York Islanders) owner about “unaffiliated” teams having difficulty was interesting, as Frank Boulton countered with examples about the affiliated team having to leave Norwich, CT which is located in the upper part of the state.
Bridgeport is a unique situation in that it has demographics and factors which are different than other minor league/independent league sports cities:
- It is located in the upper range of the heavily-populated Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area
- It is not a predominant media market, sandwiched between New York City and New Haven (closer to New Haven, CT)
- The city has a reputation of corruption in government (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeport,_Connecticut#Government_and_politics)
- It is the largest city in Connecticut
- The stadium is easily seen and accessible from the major interstate, I-95
- It competes for attention against several major league teams which play during the summer and early fall – all of New York’s Major League Baseball, NHL, NFL, and NBA will compete against the Bluefish for fans’ attentions at some point during the season
- It has the upper echelon of independent baseball talent being part of the Atlantic League
- There are college league teams which play nearby, although they are not marketed as well as the Bluefish and do not draw tremendous crowds
With that said, they are doing a good job and hopefully can secure additional corporate support. Fairfield County Connecticut, with all of its families with young kids, does not have any other professional baseball team to call its own with quality, affordable entertainment.
The article cites the Bluefish’s efforts to secure long-term sponsors and noted internal management changes. Hopefully these actions can help the team stay profitable, offer great on-field talent, and give hope to other independent baseball teams which face unique situations based on their locations and demographics.
Going forward into 2010, fans of this site are encouraged to leave comments and suggestions for teams. Should you decide to leave a comment, please make sure that it is constructive and well-thought-out ideas. If you can base them on previous successful examples, then those will be even better should the Bluefish (or any other team) decide to read the comments on these posts.
There are several good books about the independent professional baseball leagues. You are welcome to see a list of suggestions through this link: Books Get notified of upcoming independent baseball tryouts from either of these services: first service or the second service. Prospective players can find some helpful resources here We will be providing a growing list of possibly helpful tips and suggestions on various baseball information. This will range from "how to" information about baseball skills all the way to helpful information for casual baseball fans. Please click the link for more information: Tips And How To Information