Red Wings games with no fans in the stands: “A losing proposition”

Red Wings

Unlike MLB, minor league teams need fans for important revenue streams

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — These are unusual times for everyone and that includes Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason.

“When you turn the calendar to April, it’s the season. And the season is a five-month marathon for us.”

That marathon has yet to begin, with all sports leagues across the country shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are rumors circulating as to how the MLB season will begin, with most people optimistic that the season can begin this year without fans in the stands, possibly at neutral sites.

While that is great for the major league teams, it doesn’t mean much to minor league clubs like the Red Wings.

“Minor league teams really rely on four revenue streams and that’s tickets, concessions, merchandise, and advertising. And really for all of those you need fans in the stands to generate any of those revenues,” says Mason. “It would really be a losing proposition for us in terms of finances to play games in front of those stands.”

The Red Wing are busy coming up many different options based on potential health guidelines if the season occurs, such as allowing fans, but not a full ballpark.

“Some of the scenarios that we look at too, is what could we do if we had to play in front of 30% capacity. But more importantly, how do we open at all,” says Mason. “What’s going to make it so our fans feel safe and what steps would we have to do to make sure that we could open the gates to be in accordance with what the state and the county and the health officials tell us we can do.”

In the meantime, the Red Wings are looking at other ways to welcome in people to Frontier Field if there aren’t baseball games this summer. Options include opening up the concessions as a restaurant or hosting large events that you wouldn’t normally think about hosting in a baseball stadium.

“The size of our venue may allow for social distancing in situations for certain events where, for instance, you wouldn’t be able to hold an event for 1,500 people in an arena or venue which holds 2,000 people. But, you put 1,500 people in an 11,000 seat ballpark, well, maybe it’s feasible by July or August,” says Mason.

Mason is hopeful that they can provide some normalcy by bringing back baseball to Rochester and give people an escape from everything that is going on all around them.

“We look forward to being a part of the healing process,” says Mason. “I think baseball is going to play a big role in that for the entire country and we hope to do that for Rochester as well.

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