With spring training underway and teams making various trades and acquisitions, business and land use and transportation matters concerning baseball teams dribble up to the surface as well.
1. Beer and baseball. The Chicago White Sox have dumped Miller Beer as a primary sponsor, replacing them with Modelo Especial, brewed in Mexico, and a favorite with Hispanic audiences. The agreement also allows the stadium to present other brews from local breweries ("White Sox split with Miller, ink beer deal with Modelo Especial," Crain's Chicago Business).
Both are interesting developments. The former because it shows the complexity of what "Baseball, Apple Pie, and Hot Dogs" means--baseball as the sport that defines what it means to be "American."
Back in the day, when beer was most often produced locally and sold regionally, local beer companies were sponsors of baseball teams and their ads plastered the stadium. When the industry consolidated, teams shifted sponsorships to the national companies, shutting out local companies.
The latter because it takes a big venue which normally is closed off to small and local businesses (although this has been changing with baseball stadiums for awhile now, which have been moving to locally affiliated restaurants and beers, and away from poor quality overpriced basics).
Personally, since so many of these stadiums are built in large part with public money, I think the cities and stadium authorities that sign contracts with the teams should include provisions in the contract requiring access to locally owned businesses, institution of transportation demand management protocols, etc. That's what I call the difference between "building a local economy" and "economic development."
More typically, the big concession contracts with companies like Delaware North means that more of the money spent at a stadium or arena leaks out of the metropolitan economy, rather than recirculate.
The Craft & Draft section of the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium serves more than 75 brews. (Chris Vleisides /Jason Hanna/Vleisides Photo Studio for the Kansas City Royals.)
Update: The Wednesday March 15th Washington Post food section has an article on the Kansas City Royals setting up a two-tier sponsorship program for the beer category, with Boulevard Brewing Company, a local craft beer company, being named the official craft beer sponsor. MillerCoors is still the primary sponsor.
The article, "The Kansas City Royals have named an official craft beer. Will other teams follow?," discusses various elements of the issue of local vs. national sponsors and baseball, and how MLB limits national marketing benefits for breweries to the national sponsor for all of baseball--Budweiser.
Localities are waking up to the fact that since the new Braves Stadium isn't directly accessible by a MARTA subway station, they need to add transit and mobility options beyond the automobile ("Braves, Cobb spar over transportation projects at SunTrust Park," AJC). The stadium opens next month.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a piece on "How to get to the new Braves stadium using MARTA," which also discusses a new Circulator bus route being launched to serve the district.
There is a nice webpage about how to get to SunTrust Stadium. This independent website, called the MARTA Guide, is a model for transit systems for providing information about how to get to various destinations in their service area. Good thing the independent MARTA Guide exists, since the standard MARTA site doesn't have any text information about the Braves Stadium right now.
Cobb County has created two new bus routes to serve the new SunTrust Stadium ("Cumberland Circulator could get go ahead," Marietta Daily Journal), which is located in the Cumberland District, an ever growing "Edge City" that would be better served by being integrated into the metropolitan area's heavy rail transit system.
Various road and pedestrian improvements are underway to serve the stadium. Separately, Cordish Companies is building an entertainment complex adjacent to the stadium.
Currently, Cobb County doesn't participate in the MARTA transit system. It is possible that over time, presence of the stadium and the maturation of Cobb County as a more urban suburban locale may lead them to joining the MARTA system and connecting the Cumberland District and other locations to the system.
Pro Sports events and TDM. When I was writing "Sports events and the transit city: participation in transportation demand management shouldn't be an option," I did a look at various professional baseball team webspages and their presentation of information on public transportation options to and from the stadium. Professional baseball provides a standard webpage template to all the teams.
The Washington Nationals--although they don't do some of the things they should--and the San Francisco Giants are leaders in the presentation of transit information. The Chicago Cubs are required to have a transportation demand management plan that they regularly update with the City of Chicago.
The Braves website has a page for public transportation, but as of today, it isn't populated with any information.
New York MTA for both Metro-North and LIRR and the Metrolink system in Southern California are leaders in providing information and special packages to get to sports events at stadiums and arenas in their service areas. Caltrain too in the SF Bay area is very good about providing scheduling information for trains serving various facilities. MBTA provides various special services to Foxboro's Gillette Stadium, home to the New England Patriots football team.
They can buy one ticket entitling them to ride on both systems to get to and from the stadium.
-- MTA LIRR - Meadowlands Service