PRESS RELEASE – The 2009 Summer Ball Conference came to a close Tuesday (Nov. 10) afternoon marking the first ever promotional seminar for college summer baseball. More than sixty-five representatives from college teams around the country came together for three days to discuss the growth, innovations and ideas that are unique to college summer ball.
The event organizers, Infinity Pro Sports, put together the action packed three-day seminar that included a trade show, big panel discussion and ballpark tour. One of the highlights of the event included a feature presentation on Sunday from Steve DeLay, the Chief Marketing Officer of Mandalay Sports, who owns six Minor League teams. DeLay discussed the sell out mentality that has helped lead the Dayton Dragons to 704 consecutive sell outs.
Monday’s events included six breakout sessions dealing with all aspects of summer college ball from ticket sales and community relations to player recruiting. Monday night all attendees visited Sims Legion Park, the home of the Grizzlies and were given a ballpark tour and feature presentation from Vern Stenman, GM of the Madison Mallards. Stenman discussed the promotions and events that have made Madison become the top team in college summer ball, averaging more than 6,000 fans per game.
The event concluded on Tuesday with a final speech from Minor League Baseball’s promotional guru, Mike Veeck. Veeck lead a hilarious speech discussing the importance of having fun promotions at the ballpark and trying anything and everything. All attendees were then treated to a Big Panel discussion where all speakers answered questions and wrapped up the event.
The 2009 Summer Ball Conference marked a remarkable success for an industry that began as a small business and is now primed and ready to grow at a tremendous rate. Gastonia Grizzlies and Forest City Owls owner Ken Silver stated: “This is exactly what happened to Minor League Baseball in the 1990’s. The industry became almost an over night success after the teams began to treat each game as entertainment and putting on a show for the fans. We may look back at this Conference and say this is what propelled college summer baseball into what Minor League Baseball is today.”
With the success of SBC 09, the Madison Mallards have already agreed to host in 2010.
The Gastonia Grizzlies are a member of the Coastal Plain League, the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league, heading into its 14th season. Featuring 15 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with wooden bats during the summer months. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at http://www.coastalplain.com.