Janesville native and Edgerton resident Brian Christianson is the new president of the Beloit Snappers (Low Class A; Midwest League), as he takes another shot at the biggest issue facing the franchise: the need for a new facility in southern Wisconsin.
Christianson owns CPG Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based consulting firm, and he’s used to challenges: he directed Paul Ryanʼs first campaign for Congress 14 years ago.
“Our challenge as a MiLB franchise is very similar to winning an election,” Christianson said. “We need to generate enthusiasm, raise money and do it all before a deadline that is as certain as Election Day.”
The deadline Christianson refers to is 2020, when the current contract that Major League Baseball (MLB) has with its minor league affiliates expires. The Beloit franchise enjoys a grandfather clause that exempts Pohlman Field from meeting MLB minimum park requirements; requirements such as seating, clubhouse facilities, food preparation areas, and restrooms. Beloit recently signed its third MLB affiliate, the Oakland Athletics, after the midwest teams Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins exited amidst concerns about field conditions and park amenities.
Christianson is not new to the efforts to build a new park for the MiLB franchise. In 2006, Beloit businessman and ABC Founder Ken Hendricks retained Christianson to pursue both a new site and solicit charitable donations to fund construction. The campaign resulted in land donated on I-90 at Avalon Road, $10 million pledged and the concept to include a new Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds.
“The entertainment complex failed for unforeseen factors,” Christianson said. “But it sure would have been a marquee, must-see facility for tens of thousands of cars traveling back and forth through Rock County and the state line area.”
Christianson said the late Hendricks was more than a business mentor to him.
“Ken sold me every day on Beloit; itʼs potential and itʼs assets. I like to think of baseball as one of Beloitʼs community assets, and that he is smiling on my commitment, and our Boardʼs efforts, to keep this one of just two remaining Wisconsin MiLB franchises sustainable in Beloit,” Christianson said.
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