Silver Knights office has already kicked into gear
The thaw, as far as the Nashua Silver Knights are concerned, has begun.
One of the first good signs team general manager Ronnie Wallace saw of the promising season ahead was the fact the playing surface at Holman Stadium was cleared away.
The second came while he was in Davenport, Fla., checking out former Nashua Silver Knights playing for their schools. In line at a Dunkin’ Donuts, Wallace was on the phone with Knights skipper Ted Currle, discussing infielder Harry Oringer. Oringer, who played last year for the Knights, is an Endicott College senior and preseason Division III All-American.
“I was talking to Ted and I turned around and (Oringer) was right there,” Wallace said.
Wallace is back now, keeping regular hours at the team’s Holman Stadium office, and there has been a steady stream of walk-ins looking for ticket information.
“It should be a lot busier,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of presentations and people are starting to think baseball now.
“Everything’s almost to where we were at this time last year. But we’re not pleased. We’re still not where we want to be heading into April.”
Still, after a brutal winter, the team, has to a little happy that it is approaching last year’s levels for season tickets, suite sales and group sales.
The Knights want to sell 200 season tickets this year, and according to Wallace, they are closing in on the 150 mark.
“We’re more than halfway,” he said.
They have also tried to be creative this off-season with ticket mini-plans. The team introduced a new mini plan this winter, which includes tickets for Silver Knights games June 5, June 27, July 25 and Aug. 6, and a reduced rate for a Boston Red Sox game Sept. 22. They originally had a plan that included a Sox game in April, but those have been scooped up.
“We’ve sold out of the April ones,” Wallace said. “But we’ve had a lot of people walking in and asking about them. Also, we’re hoping people would come in off the street,\ who have been
to a handful of games in the past, who are ready to be season ticket holders.”
Wallace said while there is a push to get season ticket holders, extra attention has been paid to group sales.
“That’s our main focus right now,” he said. “February was a tough month. We were barely working because of all the snow and missed time.”
Last year, the team did exceptionally well with the luxury suite rentals. Wallace is hoping for the same results this year, and early indications are good.
“We’re sending out pictures constantly of the grass on the field,” he said. “Now that spring training is winding down, people are thinking about baseball again.”
The Silver Knights have five Tuesdays on the home schedule this season, which are not all that welcome.
For ballclubs at any level, early-week games usually don’t draw well. There are three in June and two in July. At least the first one, June 9, is the annual 11 a.m. Education Day that draws well thanks to school field trips.
The team won’t use any of its promotional funds to bring in acts or big giveaways in order to enhance those nights, preferring to budget those for more popular nights.
“That’s the consensus in the industry,” Wallace said.
However, the team will try “All You Can Eat Tuesdays” to lure fans in with a $10 ticket/concessions package.
The team had four Tuesday dates in 2014, but one was the Education Day.
It had a glut of Wednesdays – six – in 2014, but has only three in 2015.
This year the Futures League playoff format is completely different.
Eight teams will make the playoffs, but there will be no byes and the only series will be the best-of-three FCBL Finals.
The quarterfinals and semis are one-game elimination deals.
“I like it,” Wallace said. “If you’re the higher seed, at home and trying to sell the game, fans will know that they may get only one chance to see a playoff game because there aren’t two possible games unless it’s the finals. So you may only get one chance.”
The Silver Knights will basically be a brand new team, with few holdovers from last year’s roster.
“It puts us in a different position than the last few years,” Wallace said. “But it’s kind of cool that we’re getting younger guys, because we’re not just building for this year but for the next couple of years. Some of these guys are off to great starts.”
Wallace pointed to Rob Del Signore, a freshman who is 1-0, 2.00 in three appearances at Southern New Hampshire University.