A collegiate summer baseball franchise will purchase and install an approximately $200,000 video scoreboard at Carleton Davidson Stadium later this year.
The scoreboard will be paid for by the Champion City Kings, a wooden bat Prospect League franchise that will make the stadium its home this summer.
“We believe strongly it’s a win-win for the community of Springfield,” said Kings owner Ron Heineman.
The scoreboard is similar to those seen in minor league stadiums and will have video capabilities. The plan is to have it installed before the Kings’ season begins in late May. They’ll play 30 games at the stadium this summer between late May and early August.
The goal, Heineman said, is to “enhance the fan experience” and bring a minor league feel to the stadium.
It will also help recruiting efforts at Wittenberg University and bring youth tournaments coming to the area, Heineman said.
The National Trail Parks and Recreation District Board discussed the topic at Saturday’s special meeting. It supported the idea, “as long as they’re protected,” according to board member Shawn Jackson. This week, the board approved plans to move forward.
Director Leann Castillo said the scoreboard would be used by any team who plays at the stadium, not just the Kings.
“It would be there for the use of our entire community,” Castillo said.
Castillo believes it’s a “wonderful asset” for the stadium. However, she was concerned if the team left Springfield, the scoreboard might leave as well.
“His comment back to me was ‘We plan on being there for the long run’,” Castillo told board members.
The scoreboard would also include NTPRD’s logo, according to deputy director Brad Boyer.
The scoreboard will have four advertising spots and the team already has three businesses interested for a five-year ad, Castillo said. Once the scoreboard is paid for through advertising revenue, a percentage of the advertising dollars may go back to NTPRD, likely five years down the road.
Board member Jim Kincaid asked if NTPRD had any say in the possible advertisers. Castillo said the district would not support beer or tobacco advertisements. The prospective advertisers are local companies, Castillo said.
The Kings will pay the regular stadium rental fee of $350 per game this season, but expect to reach a multi-year contract in the future. NTPRD will make approximately $10,500 from the 30 rental dates this summer.
Castillo believes the scoreboard will also enhance economic development and bring another amenity to Clark County.
“We want to keep people here in our county,” Castillo said.
The scoreboard will also honor former Springfield summer baseball coach and city commissioner Bob Pyle.
“I felt that we were willing to sacrifice advertising space for that,” Heineman said. “He’s got a great legacy.”
The team’s home opener will be held on May 28 at 7 p.m. against the Chillicothe (Ohio) Paints, according to the Prospect League’s website.
The Kings are the Prospect League’s 11th franchise, which includes teams in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia. They’ll be the third team in Ohio, including the Chillicothe Paints and the Lorain County Ironmen. Champion City’s closest rival will be the Richmond (Ind.) RiverRats.
Wright State University junior pitcher and Kenton Ridge grad Luke Mamer is expected to play for the Kings this summer, according to the Prospect League’s website. The Kings roster will feature local players from Wittenberg University and from other universities across the country, including San Diego State and Tennessee Tech among others.
The team is expected to release ticket information on its website, ChampionCityKings.com, on Feb. 10. Tickets are expected to cost between $6 and $8.
Kings merchandise, including hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts, is available at Champion City Guide and Supply, 137 E. Main St. Heineman said he’s surprised by the sales so far.
“We’re excited to bring the fans a family-friendly experience,” Heineman said. “It’s really an affordable family-friendly experience. We’re doing everything we can to deliver.”
The Springfield News-Sun is committed to covering the National Trail Parks and Recreation District, including recent stories on the closing of Snyder Park Golf Course and the fee structure at Splash Zone Aquatic Center.