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block921

Newark Bears ownership changes hands once again

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I completely forgot about the Bears.. That being said, I think I'll get a ticket Monday's game.. Better seats and fewer hyper kids wolfing down cotton candy than the Jackals

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I used to love going to Bears games when I was a kid. I don't think I've been to one of their games in 4 or 5 years at least. Anybody else remember when Ricky Henderson played for the Bears for a little while? I caught a foul ball off of his bat at a game, and then got him to sign it after. I still have the ball in my room.

One of the things I loved about Bears games was how easy it was to get autographs. I have probably 10 Bears balls (:lol:) in my house that have autographs all over them. In retrospect, outside of the odd Jose Lima autograph, there's probably nobody noteworthy, but as a kid, it's the coolest thing you could possibly wish for.

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I used to love going to Bears games when I was a kid. I don't think I've been to one of their games in 4 or 5 years at least. Anybody else remember when Ricky Henderson played for the Bears for a little while? I caught a foul ball off of his bat at a game, and then got him to sign it after. I still have the ball in my room.

One of the things I loved about Bears games was how easy it was to get autographs. I have probably 10 Bears balls (:lol:) in my house that have autographs all over them. In retrospect, outside of the odd Jose Lima autograph, there's probably nobody noteworthy, but as a kid, it's the coolest thing you could possibly wish for.

I remember playing catch with Ricky Henderson when he was on the Bears.. The batter on the opposing team got nailed and the trainers were checking on him, so he turned to the group of kids (I was one of them) in left field by that picnic area and asked for someone to throw him a ball.. I was the only one who would do it, so we tossed it back and forth for a little before play resumed.. It was awesome

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Its a dead business model in Newark, they should of built a nice luxury high rise there instead as its by the waterfront, trains, light rail and schools and is generally low on crime and close to NJ Pac

Bad financial planning as usual.

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Two words: League affiliation.

Never going to happen as new spots aren't being opened. The only way an affiliation would happen is if a minor league team is bought out and brought to newark. Affiliations work just like liquor licenses or NY taxi drivers licenses.

With the operating losses and debt and what seems like very poor management, this isn't going to happen especially with the Yankees and Mets 30 minutes away.

Edited by block921

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Its a dead business model in Newark, they should of built a nice luxury high rise there instead as its by the waterfront, trains, light rail and schools and is generally low on crime and close to NJ Pac

Bad financial planning as usual.

I actually agree w/ this.

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Another look at how bad things are there.

NYTimes Newark Bears Article

The author wonders what would have been if the city built a soccer stadium instead.

I would go to some Bears games. There just isn't anything that compels me to get off my butt and go though, so I just forget about it.

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Good article but it stretches its own comparisons. When the Bears stadium was built, the Metrostars were comfortably nested in East Rutherford (I don't even think there were plans to move b/c Red Bulls Corp didn't own the team yet). My tune would be a bit different if they were built around the same time but the Bear's Stadium is over a decade older (and a lot happened in that decade).

Plus, comparing the success of a MLS stadium to a minor league baseball stadium doesn't make much sense to me.

I think the best bet Newark could have had in getting the Red Bulls was trying to attract the team when Red Bulls Corp bought the franchise and wanted to move them; perhaps build them in the Ironbound's industrial corridor (even though, w/ 'NY' in the name they can keep them, I wouldn't want them in Newark on the strength of that alone. It's our largest city; wouldn't seem right IMO)

Also, as long as a significant stretch around the Red Bull Arena remains undeveloped then Newark can still benefit from the fans going to the Ironbound before/after a game.

Edited by 66nexus

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Good article but it stretches its own comparisons. When the Bears stadium was built, the Metrostars were comfortably nested in East Rutherford (I don't even think there were plans to move b/c Red Bulls Corp didn't own the team yet). My tune would be a bit different if they were built around the same time but the Bear's Stadium is over a decade older (and a lot happened in that decade).

Plus, comparing the success of a MLS stadium to a minor league baseball stadium doesn't make much sense to me.

I think the best bet Newark could have had in getting the Red Bulls was trying to attract the team when Red Bulls Corp bought the franchise and wanted to move them; perhaps build them in the Ironbound's industrial corridor (even though, w/ 'NY' in the name they can keep them, I wouldn't want them in Newark on the strength of that alone. It's our largest city; wouldn't seem right IMO)

Also, as long as a significant stretch around the Red Bull Arena remains undeveloped then Newark can still benefit from the fans going to the Ironbound before/after a game.

Just to clarify one thing, even before the Metrostars were sold to RedBull they already had announced the move to Harrison. Then out the blue comes Red Bull bought the team and kind stal the construction of the stadium, to sort the management, then they had trouble with the terrain itself.. If i not mistaken Red Bull arena was actually complete 2 maybe 3 years after the original date proposed by the Metrostars

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Two words: League affiliation.

Not gonna happen for two reasons. First, the reason the Bears were independent to begin with is Major League Baseball's zoning rules. They would need the Yankees and Mets permission to have affiliated baseball, something which won't happen. Both teams have been reluctant to give permission for anyone, taking years for each team to agree to let the other have a minor league affiliate. Second, economics. In minor and independent leagues, teams upgrade or downgrade all the time, but no one would leave an established city for Newark unless they thought they could do better business in Newark. Newark downgraded from the Atlantic League, who play a full season and are close to AA in terms of quality of play and revenue for the CanAm League, who play a short season and are closer to A. They did this because they could not sell enough tickets to make money turning on the lights for a full season. When teams go from Atlantic to CanAm it is because they are dying. They sell fewer tickets than the New York Penn League (the local short season affiliated league), so no one wants them. It is a last ditch effort to survive. Recently, Nashua and Atlantic City switched from Atlantic to CanAm and died soon afterward. Sussex shifted from NYPenn to CanAm with the same result. The established CanAm franchises are fine, but cities like Newark are stuck on a downward shuffle. The only CanAm city I ever saw switch to affiliated ball with success was Allentown, but that was because the city and state spent years building a state of the art AAA ballpark for the Phillies affiliate, and it replaced one of the worst parks in professional baseball. Newark has a great ballpark, but a combination of ownership woes and location (city has bad reputation, Jackals have better ownership, too much affiliated ball in NYC) have caused them to struggle to take off the ground. If someone is willing to sink money for a couple of years while working to build the fan base, maybe they could succeed long term, but it's a dicey proposition at best, and no one will be willing to do that anyway, most likely. There are a couple of college wood bat summer leagues in the area, and I'm sure they'd kill for access to a ballpark as good as Riverfront Stadium. I'm guessing that's where the Bears end up.

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^^^Location has nothing to do with it. Trenton Thunder anyone? Camden Riversharks?

Camden, like Newark, is independent, and territorial rules therefore do not apply. Trenton is more than 15 miles from both New York and Philadelphia. It is therefore in compliance with territorial rules. Newark is within 15 miles of New York, and therefore is not. If Newark wants affiliated baseball, it needs permission, which the Yankees and Mets show no sign of giving. The Atlantic League was invented to serve markets large enough to support teams, but within the territorial limits of MLB cities. That is why Long Island, Camden, and Newark are in that league.

Camden and Trenton are the only minor league options to fans in the Philly area. Even if those cities, like Newark, have unsavory reputations, if a family can't afford major league prices, but want to see baseball, that's where they're going. Newark has to compete with the Jackals, Staten Island and Brooklyn, all of whom (with the POSSIBLE exception of Brooklyn), play in areas with considerably better reputations than Newark. If a family in New York / north Jersey wants to see a game for less than the Yankees or Mets charge, they don't have to chance Newark. I'm not saying it's fair, because Staten Island actually plays in a worse neighborhood than the Bears, and Riverfront Stadium is incredibly safe, but Newark has a bad reputation, and bad Bears' owners have not done enough to get fans to give them a chance.

Edited by mouse

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My point is what does a city's "reputation" have to do with the team's financial/mgmt issues? Especially when the city was far worse in 1999 when the stadium opened? Take the plethora of teams in the region out of the equation: You think people are afraid to go to Riversharks games? You think if the Bears somehow got an MLB affiliate they still wouldn't draw based on a city's "image"?

So the Devils can't draw because of Newark's image(even though they've drawn more last year than their final 2 years at the swamp)? Heck, how about the Blues, Red Wings, Flyers, Capitals, Sabres and the former Thrashers? All played in worse cities; did it stop the fans from showing up?

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Just to clarify one thing, even before the Metrostars were sold to RedBull they already had announced the move to Harrison. Then out the blue comes Red Bull bought the team and kind stal the construction of the stadium, to sort the management, then they had trouble with the terrain itself.. If i not mistaken Red Bull arena was actually complete 2 maybe 3 years after the original date proposed by the Metrostars

Fair enough, but did they announce the move on or around the time the Riverfront stadium was being built? I think that would've made a world of a difference.

The Riverfront stadium may not be an actual success story, but I think Newark more than made up for it w/ the Rock.

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My point is what does a city's "reputation" have to do with the team's financial/mgmt issues? Especially when the city was far worse in 1999 when the stadium opened? Take the plethora of teams in the region out of the equation: You think people are afraid to go to Riversharks games? You think if the Bears somehow got an MLB affiliate they still wouldn't draw based on a city's "image"?

So the Devils can't draw because of Newark's image(even though they've drawn more last year than their final 2 years at the swamp)? Heck, how about the Blues, Red Wings, Flyers, Capitals, Sabres and the former Thrashers? All played in worse cities; did it stop the fans from showing up?

I think Bear's attendence tends to swell when they have big names playing the minors for rehab/remediation. (like Derek Jeter @ Trenton)

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My point is what does a city's "reputation" have to do with the team's financial/mgmt issues? Especially when the city was far worse in 1999 when the stadium opened? Take the plethora of teams in the region out of the equation: You think people are afraid to go to Riversharks games? You think if the Bears somehow got an MLB affiliate they still wouldn't draw based on a city's "image"?

So the Devils can't draw because of Newark's image(even though they've drawn more last year than their final 2 years at the swamp)? Heck, how about the Blues, Red Wings, Flyers, Capitals, Sabres and the former Thrashers? All played in worse cities; did it stop the fans from showing up?

First of all, I never said that's the sole issue, but it is one. The ownership has been the main issue, but when a team starts the cycle the Bears are on, it is difficult to fix, even with new owners.

Location is, however, a factor. Minor league fans are predominately families with kids looking for affordable entertainment. If families don't feel safe, they will not come. In 2010, Newark's final year in the Atlantic League, 3 of the bottom 4 teams in attendance played in cities with negative reputations (Newark, Camden and Bridgeport), and all three teams play in relatively new stadia with high capacities and high quality amenities, and Bridgeport won their division and lost in the championship round. Considering Newark is in competition with 3 other minor league teams, and has the worse reputation in terms of safety, they needed to make a better effort to make fans feel safe than just about any city in America. Major league cities are a different story. Die hards will show up, and they can begin to convince others the area is safe. They are on tv, so there is a lot of footage of people walking around comfortably before the games.

I think teams CAN succeed in cities with high crime rates. The neighborhood is, however, a factor. I have defended the Rock here and in public from people who claim it is not safe to go to games in Newark. The Devils' attendance is a result of a strong effort by both VBK and the Devils' organization to ensure people that the Rock is a safe, enjoyable place. The Bears did not benefit from this.

While this discussion is moot, because legally, Newark will never be affiliated, major league affiliation would not make or break the Bears. Bridgeport has a similar ballpark, and is not affiliated, yet they draw over 2,000 fans a game, while Newark can't break 1,000. Camden draws nearly 3,500. Meanwhile, plenty of affiliated teams fold every year.

Succeeding in minor league baseball requires many things to go right. At this point, a few groups own many of the teams because they have a better understanding of what it takes to succeed. The Bears came in with a few issues, and those have snowballed. At this point, it is too late for a quick fix.

Edited by mouse

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The Riverfront stadium may not be an actual success story, but I think Newark more than made up for it w/ the Rock.

+1.

Booker made a big difference, but VBK was the real driving force. He wanted to build in Newark and understood the risks and benefits and did a very good job making sure the Devils would succeed. He's a real businessman, unlike Rick Cerrone, a former ballplayer who wanted to bring a team to his hometown and his idiotic or corrupt successors.

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I think Bear's attendence tends to swell when they have big names playing the minors for rehab/remediation. (like Derek Jeter @ Trenton)

It helps, but not enough to make a difference. In the Bears inaugural season, they drew 126,407. In 2003, their first year with Rickey, they drew 191,034. In 2010, they drew 117,985. While it's hard to track down attendance figures for the entire Atlantic League in 2003, most teams that have survived in the Atlantic League draw well over 200,000 for the season, so while Rickey helped, they were still below average. Also, a bunch of big names, including Jim Leyritz, Ozzie and Jose Canseco and Tim Raines have come through Newark, with little impact.

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Location is, however, a factor. Minor league fans are predominately families with kids looking for affordable entertainment. If families don't feel safe, they will not come

Again take the number of baseball teams in the area out of the equation. If families aren't afraid to go to Camden for games then they shouldn't be afraid to go to Bears games either.

But, the Bears shouldn't be catering to the typical sheltered suburbanites. They needed to market themselves locally. Get involved in the communities, put themselves in the local papers, do grassroots, etc. They're called the Newark Bears not North Jersey Bears. Their failure to market themselves within the immediate Newark area(a baseball hotspot for Latinos) is why they are in the position they're in.

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Again take the number of baseball teams in the area out of the equation. If families aren't afraid to go to Camden for games then they shouldn't be afraid to go to Bears games either.

But, the Bears shouldn't be catering to the typical sheltered suburbanites. They needed to market themselves locally. Get involved in the communities, put themselves in the local papers, do grassroots, etc. They're called the Newark Bears not North Jersey Bears. Their failure to market themselves within the immediate Newark area(a baseball hotspot for Latinos) is why they are in the position they're in.

I edited the post a second ago, which you may have missed, but Bridgeport and Camden do draw worse than suburban cities, and Gary has struggled as well. I completely agree about the community work. Newark's owners have all dropped the ball badly in the city. It's one of many things that have left them in this position.

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