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CLASS A ROCKIES FIRST YEAR IN PORTLAND A BOX-OFFICE SUCCESS
Published July 14, 1995
The Class A Portland Rockies drew 19,658 for their home opener, the largest Class A crowd in America this year. Through 14 home games, the team has averaged 7,202 fans for a total of 100,823, which marks the earliest a team in the Northern League has passed the 100,000 mark. This is the team's first year in Portland, after 14 years in Bend, OR. Portland became an open market when Joe Buzas took his Triple A team to Salt Lake City last year, and Rockies Owner Jack Cain moved the Rockies to Civic Stadium. THE RIGHT MOVES: Part of the team's success is attributed to S.R.O. Partners, a Portland-based consulting and training firm specializing in tickets, sponsorship, and suite sales strategies. Tom Leip, VP/Marketing for the Rockies, told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that they took the "ticketing marketing program by SRO and ran with it." Leip said the program was "very aggressive" and said his staff of 18-20 full and part-time employees spend their entire day selling tickets. Leip said the marketing program is based on ticket sales , "if we sell our tickets, the marketing will take care of itself." If the stands are full, advertisers will want to buy signage and sponsorships. Doug Piper, President of S.R.O. Partners, said his company helped the Rockies hire and train an outside sales team. S.R.O. then followed up with training sessions, including helping develop a database. They are also in discussions on helping with sponsorships next season. Dwight Jaynes, columnist for the Portland OREGONIAN, told THE DAILY that the team has been "wildly successful." Jaynes said baseball as a whole is not being sold correctly, but "these guys had lots of salesman on the streets selling tickets." Jaynes: "People think that you can open the gates on opening night and fans either love you or hate you. But they worked hard. ... The Cain's have proven that the off-season is when the work gets done, and tickets are sold." Rockies Owner Jack Cain, to THE DAILY: "We are a retail business. We just have a different product to sell." COULD PORTLAND BE HOME TO EXPANSION? When asked if Portland was a solid baseball city, Leip said that was "an understatement." Leip: "Portland is as good a baseball market as any in the country. It has a population with a large disposable income and they will come if is a good show." The OREGONAIN's Jaynes agrees: "[Portland is] a great baseball town, and once it wakes up, it could be a great potential major league expansion city" (THE DAILY).