There are different paths to season-opening excitement, as the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the South Bend Cubs (Low Class A; Midwest League) are both approaching sellouts for their respective season openers.
In Nashville, the Sounds have sold out most of the First Tennessee Park Opening Day box seats and are now opening berm and standing-room only tickets — usually sold as day-of-game ducats — to presales. In addition, some box-seat tickets are being held for season-ticket holders, and of course the Sounds will be offering these tickets until the April 17 season opener.
In South Bend, all single seat tickets for the April 9 home opener against the Bowling Green Hot Rods are sold out; only lawn seats are available.
“A sell-out crowd is nearly a guarantee,” said team president Joe Hart. “The minute we announced our affiliation with the Chicago Cubs, our phones began ringing with people asking about tickets to the first game. There is a tremendous wave of energy surrounding this affiliation. Our fans know they can expect a stellar experience.”
Hart and crew are certainly upping the wattage for an Opening Day, making sure everyone not living under a rock in South Bend knows about the team’s new Chicago Cubs affiliation. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Chicago Cubs President of Operations Theo Epstein, and the National Anthem will be sung by famed Chicago singer Wayne Messmer.
In both cities, you can expect lots of spectacle. The first game at First Tennessee Park will certainly be covered heavily by the media: the fact that a new ballpark is opening in what’s emerged as a major media market is noteworthy, especially when you combine it with the decade-long efforts by multiple Sounds owners to procure a replacement for Greer Stadium. And in South Bend, the SB Cubs are combining a noteworthy story with a promotional effort not normal for the Midwest League team. It takes more and more for teams to cut through the media clutter, and taking advantage of some promotional opportunities never hurts.