Since taking control of the Memphis Redbirds on Monday, new management firm Global Spectrum has cut several employees, saving more than a half-million dollars in the process.
Since taking control of the Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and AutoZone Park on Monday, new management firm Global Spectrum has cut several employees, saving more than a half-million dollars in the process.
Gone are community-relations director (and sometimes broadcaster) Reggie Williams, as well as several other employees. When the deal to manage AutoZone Park and the team was announced last month two long-term employees were let go, and team president/GM Dave Chase was given 60 days notice.
We've heard since then the new Global Spectrum team has done little to tap into Chase's extensive baseball expertise, preferring instead to focus on their own management approach. That's OK — in the arena world Global Spectrum is a major player and certainly knows how to squeeze every penny of profit from a facility — but the baseball world runs a little differently. In the arena world you can tap into a much larger audience base by bringing in different acts to reach different demographics while relying on a hockey team to bring in a constant cash flow. In baseball, you can have theme nights to attract different demographics, but in the end you're selling the ballpark experience, combining action on the field with concessions and other ballpark attractions.
Now, you could argue that Global Spectrum is smart to ignore the advice of the likes of a Dave Chase: after all, he was in charge of the team and the ballpark during its downturn. But he was also in charge when the ballpark was built and the team was a model for other minor-league franchises. Controlling costs is what's needed at the moment — the nonprofit that owns the Redbirds and AutoZone Park really has no margin for error — but in the long term an arena mentality just won't work in a high-profile ballpark.
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