Friday, November 21, 2014

Playdate for Grown Ups


We are not finished with the DBAP make-over. Improvements to our right field play area are next on the agenda. To get the creative juices flowing, GM Mike Birling had the brilliant idea to attend the IAAPA Expo in Orlando. That's the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. 



We flew down last Tuesday and spent the day at this gigantic trade show - nine miles of exhibits! Inflatables from Ireland, carnival rides from Italy, carousels from Poland. Truth be told, it was overwhelming. I need to think like a first grader. (That shouldn't be so hard!)




I'm trying to figure out how to build a wave pool in the right field corner of the ballpark? Or dancing waters in the batter's eye? Or a zip line spanning the outfield seats? (Just kidding...maybe.) The Baseball Winter Meetings are next month in San Diego. That's another mammoth trade show. We will sort this out during the winter. Imagination will become reality by next April.  


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Buzz @ 80


Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University
WDNC was Durham's first radio station taking to the airwaves in 1934. Eight decades later it's spreading across the media landscape like kudzu!

This summer we have extended the venerable AM radio station to the FM band with two translators. One covers Raleigh on 99.3 and last week we added 96.5 to serve Durham.



These changes represent an improvement in fidelity and coverage for Duke University sports, Durham Bulls baseball, CBS Sports Radio...and during the daytime for fans of Mike & Mark (6-9am), Dan Patrick (9am-noon), Jim Rome (noon-4pm) and ESPN's Dan Le Batard (4-7pm).

In your car, on your phone/tablet/PC/TV...
The station is also available to HD Radio listeners (99.9 HD2) and we stream the signal at our website and on our app. Also, you can watch the Mike & Mark morning show on MeTV (WRAZ .2 and TWC 1250.) That's seven channels of distribution for what used to be one AM radio station. Happy 80th birthday to WDNC!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Leader for ACC Baseball


We have recruited a top-notch talent to lead the ACC Baseball Championships in Durham. Lee Folger will join us on October 1st. He hails from Baseball America, the sport's bible. Lee is very much in sync with our vision to grow the annual event and to become its permanent home. He has closely followed the trajectory of the SEC and NCAA tourneys, and he brings his network and knowledge to bear on marketing the premier ACC event in Durham. As a Triangle resident - with degrees from UNC and Duke - he brings great enthusiasm to the job, too. This is our media release from Tuesday:







The Durham Bulls have tapped baseball media executive Lee Folger as Tournament Director for the ACC Baseball Championships. The annual tournament returns to Durham Bulls Athletic Park next May, and the team has a four-year commitment from the Atlantic Coast Conference to host the event through 2018. 

Folger, most recently, was President and Publisher of Baseball America, a Durham-based media company. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Lee has worked in sales/marketing and executive management positions for numerous media organizations including Reed Business Information, Curtco Media, The Red Herring, and University Directories. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife and two children.

"I am delighted Lee will be leading our team. He is highly regarded for his knowledge and enthusiasm for all things baseball," said Casey Steinbacher, chair of the tournament's Local Organizing Committee and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. "This is a statement about Durham's formidable commitment to the tournament and to becoming its long term home." 

"Lee has built strong ties throughout the baseball world over the past fifteen years," said George Habel, Vice President of the Durham Bulls. "His expertise and connections will be invaluable as we grow this annual event in our community. As a Triangle resident with degrees from two ACC universities, he shares our vision for what the tournament can become here."

The 2015 ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park begins on Tuesday, May 19 as five days of pool play get started. The tournament culminates with the Conference's Championship Game on Sunday, May 24.

"I am thrilled with this opportunity to showcase ACC baseball, Durham and the Triangle region to the entire country," said Folger. "The DBAP has been a venue for many historic moments, in professional and amateur baseball, and I look forward to ACC Baseball Championships that are memorable for fans, players, coaches and the community."

The ACC Baseball Championship has been held in Durham eight times previously, including three of the past five years. In 2013 in Durham, tournament records for single-game attendance (11,329) and championship game attendance (8,697) were set. The 2013 championship drew 58,454 fans, the fourth highest total in league history.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bull Durham | A New Musical


I must confess that I was in Atlanta Saturday night for a musical. While the Governors' Cup Championship series was winding down in Durham, I was at the off Broadway premier of Bull Durham - A New Musical. The Bulls came up short - congratz to the PawSox - but the show received a standing ovation.

Yes, I'm biased. This new Bull Durham is a wonderful extension of the iconic movie. The stage characters compare favorably with the movie stars. It's raucous (and still R-rated.) The choreography is energetic. (Men dancing with baseball bats is something to behold.) There are several memorable songs. Big fun!

Here's a review from Variety. I'm inclined to believe it suggests the show has potential for Broadway next year. Critics are paid to be critical, but remember, the audience was on its feet at the end of the show. Check out the chatter on Twitter at #BullDurhamMusical.

Alliance Theatre photo, more pix

Alliance Theatre photo

Hank Aaron & wife Billye were honored before the show.

Bull Durham's creator Ron Shelton chats with Aaron. 

Composer-lyricist Susan Werner at the keyboard.

Even the caterer represents the Durham Bulls.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inside the Governors' Cup



Here's yet another reason to love working at Capitol Broadcasting Company:

I assumed that we could grab a satellite feed of tonight's Bulls-PawSox game from Pawtucket for MeTV, but it proved difficult. So, with a modicum of internal debate, we dispatched a TV5 satellite truck and intrepid engineer Tony Gupton to RI. 700 miles on I-95 and 11 hours later...problem solved!


As we defend our 2013 Governors' Cup Championship this week, I leave you with two more pithy tweets:


Join us at the DBAP Thursday night as the championship series moves from Pawtucket to downtown Durham.  

#KeepTheCup

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Social (& antisocial) Media











What a week of cyber highs and lows!

We were deeply honored - and downright giddy - on Monday when Good Morning America aired a video clip of our Diamond Cutters dancing grounds crew. 

Facebook likes climbed to 59,000 by week's end with a similar number of views on our YouTube channel. That's fifteen seconds of fame to savor! 



From boom to bust: That blissful broadcast was followed on Tuesday by a viral video of Centerplate CEO Des Hague kicking a puppy. Centerplate is the giant food service company that manages our concessions at the DBAP. Of course, we were the brunt of some antisocial social media. We renounced the act, the actor...and our lawyers are talking. We are on the side of canines. The Bulls hosted three Bark in the Park events to benefit Second Chance Pet Adoptions this season, and we helped Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue with a fund raiser. The Hague issue is still roiling. An online petition to oust him had 156K signatures at this writing.

Wanting to end this social media commentary on a positive note...
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon has made Internet history raising $101mm as of Friday. I was on the board of the NC association for ten years, and I have a great affection for the patients, families and their advocates at the Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter where donations have topped $205K. "Everyone is just blown away. We are feeling very grateful for this unexpected surge of support," per an email from chapter CEO Jerry Dawson. What if this cash infusion sparks breakthrough research that identifies the elusive cause of ALS...and that leads to a cure for this cruel disease? That is the true potential and power of social media!



Sunday, July 20, 2014

#ASGdurham


Simply stated, we hosted the 27th Triple-A All-Star Game to brag on the renaissance of downtown Durham. Now that the five-day baseball festival is over, I can brag on our staff. 

GM Mike Birling and the Bulls' front office did a fantastic job of extending southern hospitality to our guests - the players and baseball execs from over thirty cities - and entertaining 25,000 attendees. 

They staged twelve public, private and media events in five days, managed the host hotel and ran a transportation program for our visitors. Their hallmarks were creativity, hospitality and dedication - dedication to the Bulls, the event and their co-workers. It paid great dividends!

That first shot of a capacity crowd at the DBAP was taken from a drone last Wednesday evening as the International League All-Stars prevailed over the Pacific Coast League's best, seen nationwide, on the MLB Network.






The Home Run Derby and All-Star game were SRO. The Fan Fest and Blackwell St. Block Party exceeded our expectations. The private events at Washington Duke Inn, Cameron Indoor Stadium and the historic Durham Athletic Park will be long remembered for moonshine tasting, the Duke mystique and Ed Mitchell's barbecue. 





THANK YOU to our title sponsor,
 Durham's global manufacturer of LEDs, CREE.

The Bulls have been universally complimented for raising the bar for this annual event. I'm reminded that my first Triple-A All-Star Game was in 1998 at Norfolk, and the gala was held on an aircraft carrier at anchor in the Hampton Roads harbor. It's very gratifying that we might have topped that in downtown Durham last week! 

Big Fun. Hard Work. Great Outcome. Thanks for coming!