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2015 Organization of the Year: Goldklang Group

Ballpark DigestBy any measure, it was a very good season for the four teams owned by the Goldklang Group: Record-setting attendance in St. Paul and Charleston, continued excellence in Hudson Valley and Pittsfield, and the opening of the amazingly popular CHS Field. These accomplishments earned the Goldklang Group Ballpark Digest’s Organization of the Year for 2015.

“Everything came together this season for the four teams under the Goldklang Group umbrella,” said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. “Those successes are the result of a lot of hard work over many years. But that hard work paid off across the board.”

“We’re honored to receive this prestigious award from Ballpark Digest, the leading and most timely source of industry news,” said Goldklang Group Chairman Marv Goldklang. “While I might like, as owner, to take credit for this recognition, the truth of the matter is that it was earned by the most creative, hardest working group of individuals I’ve known in the game — from our General Managers to their game day staffs. Whether it was opening minor league baseball’s best new ballpark of the year, or operating successfully out of one of its oldest, each team has continued throughout to reward our fans with wonderful and, in some respects, unique experiences at the ballpark. We look forward in 2016 and future years to providing both our fans and the industry with innovative approaches to the presentation of the greatest game in the world.”

The Goldklang Group can trace its roots to September 1989, when investment partnerships headed by Marv Goldklang acquired controlling interests in three affiliated Minor League Baseball franchises, including the Charleston, S.C. franchise in the South Atlantic League. Since then the Goldklang Group has bought and sold interests in several teams. The most notable was the creation of the independent Northern League in 1993, when Goldklang and Mike Veeck partnered with Miles Wolff and Van Schley to bring back independent professional baseball, establishing the St. Paul Saints in the process. The Hudson Valley Renegades were born in 1994, when Erie’s NY-Penn League team was moved to Dutchess Stadium. The final piece of the puzzle came in 2012, when the Pittsfield Suns brought summer-collegiate baseball to historic Wahconah Park, setting a Futures League attendance record in 2014. Along the way a solid management team was formed: Besides Goldklang and Veeck, you have Managing Director Jeff Goldklang, Senior Vice President Tyler Tumminia, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Tom Whaley, Saints Executive VP/GM Derek Sharrer, RiverDogs Executive VP/GM Dave Echols, and Renegades Senior VP/GM Eben Yager. And, of course, we can’t forget the Goldklang Group’s Director of Fun: The legendary Bill Murray.

Those years of hard work paid off in 2015. The St. Paul Saints opened CHS Field to wide acclaim, shattering both team and league attendance records. CHS Field earned Ballpark Digest’s Best New Ballpark of 2015 award, both for its outstanding design and its impact on the thriving Lowertown neighborhood. The Charleston RiverDogs set a season attendance record, breaking a mark set in 2007. And both the Hudson Valley Renegades and Pittsfield Suns continued their strong showings at the box office, each finishing near the top of their league attendance rankings.

“Continued excellence in the front office isn’t a matter of happenstance — it’s the result of hard work, great personnel, and well-planned systems,” Reichard said. “It’s no accident the Goldklang Group annually sets the bar for excellence in professional baseball. We’re honored to recognize one of the class organizations in all of sports.”

Best Major Ballpark Renovation: CenturyLink Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium
Best Ballpark Renovation (Over $6M, Under $20M): AutoZone Park
Best Ballpark Renovation (Under $6M): Dr Pepper Ballpark
Best New Food Item: Sweenie Donut Dog
Broadcaster of the Year: Josh Whetzel

Best New Logos/Branding: Daytona Tortugas
Best New Ballpark: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints

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