Sunday, January 31, 2010

Daydreaming about Spring Training

We're in a state of suspended animation thanks to snow, sleet and below freezing temps. However, the sun was out today...and WRAL's SKY 5 got a good shot of the ballpark:

Click here for twenty minutes of raw video posted at Grab a hot beverage and enjoy the ride aboard SKY 5.
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It's a safe assumption that springtime will arrive on schedule, and...
The Bulls are bringing Spring Training to the Triangle!

On Saturday, April 3rd, the final day of Major League Spring Training comes to Durham, as the 2009 National Champion Bulls face off against the AL East power, Tampa Bay Rays. An afternoon of Major League fun with MLB stars Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, David Price and BJ Upton returning to the DBAP for an Exhibition Game.
Tickets go on-sale Monday, February 1st at 9am.


Save yourself a trip to Florida...join us in Durham.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Shocking Outcome

Gaines Adams, a defensive end with the Chicago Bears, died from an enlarged heart earlier this month in his hometown of Greenwood SC. (The medical term is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.)

That story brought back memories for us at the ballpark - especially for a Durham policeman, Gerry Elliot. He had the same undetected heart condition. Thankfully, his story has a much better outcome because we had a defibrillator nearby. WRAL TV5 News revisited the story today. Take a look, and consider investing in an automatic external defibrillator (AED) for your office!

Click here for the story.

Click here for the video.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Championship Retail Stats

The Durham Bulls ranked third in merchandise sales last year among all Minor League teams. I wouldn’t be so quick to brag about winning the bronze medal, but the gold and silver went to teams with extraordinary advantages.

The number one team moved into a new ballpark with a new name and logo. Every fan needs a cap or shirt bearing the new brand. Number two was a brand new team. Again, that generates high volume.

So, third place is pretty good for the venerable Bulls’ block D logo. And I give a good measure of credit to our retail manager Bryan Wilson. He joined us three years ago from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bryan has a knack for trends.

While the top-selling items are ballpark staples - caps and t-shirts – sales for youth apparel are way up, and Bryan is increasing our women’s selection by 50% this coming season. We have authentic gear for wannabe ball players, but we're really outfitting the entire family!

The Bulls' Ballpark Corner Store is open during the winter. Come in for a visit. We'll even let you wander around the stadium.

Do you have your National Championship t-shirt? Fitted cap? Foam finger?

...and we're doing biz 24/7 in our cyberstore:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sports Marketing Champions

I’m entering shark infested waters with this post. Dare I reveal to the general public the identities of our top account reps?

The 2008 Salesperson of the Year at the Durham Bulls was recruited by another baseball team and then hired away from that ball club by a collegiate sports marketing firm. (That's some measure of justice!?!)

I’m taking a big chance, but these folks deserve the recognition. They excelled in a recession. That’s an Olympic performance!

These are the leading account reps in the sports division at Capitol Broadcasting Company for 2009. They were honored at a luncheon on Thursday receiving a plaque and congrats from our CEO, Jim Goodmon:

Eric Quimby – Wolfpack Sports Marketing

Increased his sales 17% over the previous year…finished year at 105% of annual goal…one third of his clients increased their budgets…and Eric and his wife had their first child!

Chris Cook – 99.9 The Fan ~ 620 The Buzz ~ 1550 ESPN Deportes

Developed new business and grew existing business…weathered change extremely well…found a way to thrive in one of the toughest economic times in our industry…remained focused and positive, realizing that distractions would only cost time and money.

Neil Solondz – Durham Bulls Baseball Club

Exceeded budgeted sales goals for the sixth consecutive year. That would be a significant accomplishment in any organization, but Neil is also our play-by-play broadcaster. He anchored 153 broadcasts. Half of those were on the road. Lots of hotels, planes and buses. An exemplary performance behind the mic and in front of our sponsors!

I extend my hearty approbation to Eric, Chris and Neil. These guys are Champions! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coming Soon: Tobacco Road Sports Cafe

A new eatery is coming to the American Tobacco Historic District this spring. (Read the news release!) Construction starts next week on the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe that will overlook the ballpark from the Diamond View II office building. This will be TR's corner venue:

We have great restaurants across the street on the American Tobacco campus (Tyler's Tap Room, Mellow Mushroom and Cuban Revolution), but this newest eatery will be part and parcel of the DBAP. Here's your view from Tobacco Road's patio:

The "cafe" designation has real meaning. Tobacco Road is not your typical sports bar. Yes, there will be myriad flat screen TVs, but the kitchen does not take a back seat to technology. They are serious about their food!

I eat at Raleigh's Glenwood South TR every couple of weeks. May I suggest the black-eyed pea cakes or the Blue Devil crab chowder.

So, Tobacco Road will be a very good dining option for theater goers, too. (The Durham Performing Arts Center is just around the corner.) This restaurant will work for baseball or broadway!

Click here for more...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Leftovers

(Forgive the less-than-complimentary title.) Here are a few important and/or interesting items from last week:

The Bulls grabbed another end-of-year MiLBY award since my last post. The latest goes to Winston Abreu for best Triple A reliever.

A couple of excerpts from the awards story:

The 32-year-old went 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 15 saves in 37 games for Durham. He gave up just 23 hits over 51 innings for a ridiculous .133 batting average against while walking only 16 and striking out 77. He played a big part in helping the Bulls reach the International League playoffs, then saved four games in six scoreless outings to get them to the Triple-A National Championship Game.

"We liked the reports and we needed help in the bullpen," Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said about signing Abreu. "Though he didn't make the Major League club, from day one he dominated the International League. We needed some help in the Durham bullpen and thought he could be big league insurance. And man, did he dominate. He throws a plus fastball, a hard slider and has a good arm. He likes to compete and certainly proved he was a good fit."

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This next story comes from the New York Times - not from the sports pages, rather from the Americas section. The Raleigh News and Observer picked it up...put it on the front page.

It's baseball season in Venezuela, and former Bull - Buddy Bailey - manages a team there. The NYT says he's one of the few popular Americans in Caracas. This is a neat story...check it here.

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...and last but not least, the News and Observer's Tar Heel of the Year is Durham architect Phil Freelon. Congrats to Phil and his firm! (...and to Phil's family; his wife is the awesome jazz singer Nnenna Freelon.)

Phil assisted on the DBAP project back in the early '90s. He did the parking deck at RDU airport with the striking cyclonic ramps...more recently Durham's public transit depot that's the classiest bus station in America...and he's lead architect on the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. It will probably be the last major structure to be built on the National Mall. Click here for the full story.

Durham promotes itself as home to the creative class...and Freelon, firm and family, stand at the head of the class!