Scrappers see a financial and field comeback in 2022 – Business Journal Daily
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With revenue down approximately 98% during the canceled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers have begun their financial comeback in 2021 and are looking forward to a 2022 season yet again. stronger.
Attendance hovered around 2,400 with some games close to Eastwood Field’s capacity of 6,000 last year, although profits were 60% from a normal season, says manager Jordan Taylor. general.
This year, he hopes to get out of the park and bring revenue closer to the 100% goal.
“It was really the first step in rebuilding things for us,” said Taylor, who is also vice president of HWS Baseball, part of Massachusetts-based HWS Group, a sports management company that owns and operates professional sports franchises.
“We really hope that this season, with a more traditional offseason to plan and set up our programs, it will be very much like a pre-pandemic Scrappers season,” he says.
The Cafaro Co. owns the lease on Eastwood Field, holding a deal through 2033, and its spokesman Joe Bell says the pandemic and subsequent closings have left its tenants in financial shock.
“We know it’s in everyone’s interest to try to find a way back to what a normal financial picture should be,” he says. “Now it’s just a matter of moving forward.”
Dollar nights for drinks and hot dogs typically draw large crowds for Thursday home games, which begin the second season of the Major League Baseball Draft League’s six-team baseball league on June 2. Taylor says it might be one of his biggest crowds that night, but not as big of a money maker.
“The overall income, even if you have more people, is not as high as a Friday or a Saturday, but they can still get there,” he says.
Most of the team’s expenses are food, the 200 seasonal and full-time workers, followed by team merchandise and promotional expenses, Taylor adds.
Concession options are expanded this season as fans can order electronically or in person.
About 70% of the ballpark was open last year, but all Eastwood Field amenities will be available to fans in 2022.
“It’s going to give us a chance to really open things up and give fans a great overall experience,” Taylor said.
It will be better than the 2021 season where the first five home games had 30% capacity due to COVID restrictions and some games were canceled due to contact tracing which impacted revenue for days of game.
“I would say it took us 20-25% off what a normal day would be,” Taylor says.
Last season, the stadium was full from mid-March to the end of October with more than the Scrappers’ 34 home games scheduled for 2021.
Each year, the team wants to schedule about 100 events, ranging from Youngstown State University and high school baseball games, community events, pro wrestling and live events like Jeff Dunham, who according to Taylor, was one of the biggest draws in Eastwood Field history.
Non-Scrappers events represent 15-20% of the team’s revenue and the team is well on its way to hitting the century mark in events. He adds that the Scrappers are working with Indigo Road Entertainment for one to two more events in 2022.
“It’s been a busy offseason for us,” Taylor said. “These dates are really filling up. It’s good to see that this stadium is going to be used very well again this year.
With COVID restrictions in 2021, fan interaction and on-field promotions were limited – something the Scrappers hope will be non-existent in 2022.
There are five dollar nights, eight fireworks, bobblehead and other giveaways, including five to six specialty jersey nights tied to community themes and a few celebrity appearances, to be announced in the near future, Taylor says. .
“It seems like a pretty busy promotional schedule,” he says.
Mahoning Valley, along with Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Crosscutters, West Virginia Black Bears, Trenton (NJ) Thunder, State College (Pennsylvania) Spikes and Frederick (Md.) Keys returned during the second year of the MLB Draft League, where the season went from 68 to 80 games – giving the Scrappers 40 home games.
Last year’s manager Coco Crisp took a job with the Washington Nationals in the offseason, which led to new staff for the Scrappers, who will be named in the coming weeks. MLB and Pro Baseball Report, which controls the league, will announce all team personnel at the same time, Taylor said.
At the end of January, there were 277 players under contract for the six teams.
“We’re way ahead of where we were last year,” Taylor said. “From what I’ve seen, the quality is going to be fantastic in the Draft League this year.
“We were, given the speed of execution, how well the league did.”
MLB Draft League players who went to college in northeast Ohio or western Pennsylvania, or who might be from the Mahoning Valley, will likely be on the Scrappers roster .
Last season was a pitcher-dominated league with many changes, leading to four-hour games at the start of the season. Taylor says that in the second half of the season, after the MLB draft in July, fans will see the traditional games with pitchers going four to six innings.
He says draft league pitchers have a very restrictive pitching count, which indicates why there are so many changes.
“Overall, we had longer games because of the number of pitchers that are better utilized,” Taylor says. “I know they were looking at some changes, maybe reducing the time between sets to have to go a bit faster.”
Despite that, Bell says he’s only heard from people happy to be able to enjoy refreshments and a day at Eastwood Field.
“We just hope they keep doing what they’re doing,” he says. “We are happy to have them on the property. We are happy to see them playing ball.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.