Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Strange Brew

Sad news out of the Golden Baseball League as the St. George Roadrunners have been forced to close up shop for the remainder of the season…and you’ll never guess why.

The Deseret News (hat tip to Deadspin) reports that the Roadrunners simply ran out of money – and a lack of beer sales is part of the problem.

Bearing in mind what I’ve paid for a cold one at various sporting events in my day I’m not too surprised to hear the CEO of Hot Corner Baseball, the group that owns the team, say that beer sales work out to about 33% of the total revenue of a minor league baseball team.

"I know it was a controversial issue, but beer sales was critical to our success here, in terms of increasing attendance, increasing revenue, and as a factor in attracting necessary outside capital investment. It simply makes no sense to operate a minor league franchise without beer sales.”

Here’s the problem: in Utah it’s apparently illegal to sell booze on the grounds of any educational institution, as far as I can tell through my late-night limited research. The team shares its home stadium, Bruce Hurst Field, with the Dixie State College of Utah baseball team.

Joyce also blamed the decision to cease operations on poor attendance and lack of support from the local business community. According to the Deseret News piece, the failed business model of the fourth ownership group to try and run a team in St. George banked on attracting just one percent of the local population per game (1,300 fans).

So the Roadrunners finish up their season last in the GBL’s North Division and a distant last in terms of attendance. To put that in context, so far this season the Edmonton Capitals have more than doubled the attendance of the Roadrunners (63,615 to 31,753).

But what if the taps ran dry at Telus Field, Commonwealth Stadium or Rexall Place – would you still go?

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