Talks continue in Green Bay regarding a new ballpark for the summer collegiate Northwoods League’s Bullfrogs. Owner Jeff Royle is exploring the possibility of building a new ballpark on the west side along the banks of the Fox River, just north of the Mason Street Bridge. Royle has done an incredible job over the past three years putting lipstick on a pig called Joannes Park. See before and after. But the time is ripe to advance plans for a new home for his franchise. Read more here.
Royle was wise to enter the Green Bay market the way he did. By going into Joannes without making demands on the community for ballpark improvements and spending at least $250,000 of his own money, it allowed him to build good will with the community and confidence that his franchise could succeed in football-dominant TitleTown USA. Clearly adopting the crappy ballpark success model (CBSM) (okay, so we made that up) perfected by master atmosphere-builder Steve Schmitt (owner of the highly successful summer collegiate Madison Mallards), Royle made targeted and relatively modest, but effective, improvements to Joannes, including adding a new party deck and luxury suites on the cheap.
For those not familiar with Schmitt’s work in Madison, he took over a dump called Warner Park that was left for dead by three minor league clubs and turned it into the powerhouse park of the decade. By building party decks and Wrigley-style rooftop seating galore to create unique and fun vantage points, adding cheezy outdoor suites and Vegas-style lighting around the pressbox, and plastering the facility with team branding and colors, Schmitt proved that fun, energy, and atmosphere feeding the senses drives ballpark attendance, not the ballpark itself. See photos here and here.