Remember that shiny new ballpark that was supposed to open its doors to downtown Winston-Salem back in April?
It’s not coming.
At least not this season.
Winston-Salem finally announced the inevitable this afternoon: that after 19 home games, the new ballpark is going to have to wait ’till next year. The process of Billy Prim buying out longtime co-owner Andrew Filipowski has taken longer than expected and left the Dash without financing to finish the project.
"We have continued to hope and work towards opening the ballpark this season, but feel at this point that the best interest of or fans and the project for this year (and) beyond will be served by focusing on opening the new park in 2010 and providing the best family entertainment option we can at Wake Forest (Baseball Park) this year," Prim said in a statement.
The market has not responded well. The Dash, playing at their old home of Ernie Shore Field (which has since been renamed Wake Forest Baseball Park) have averaged just 456 fans a game. The team had geared all their promotions and ticket sales toward the new ballpark and were left scrambling once it became obvious it would not be ready for Opening Day.
They announced ticket-package deals in the same release and hope to spur some interest in the team, even if it won’t be at the new facility.
However it is hard to imagine a significant spike in attendance (though perhaps the announcement will provide some closure for fans) and the sparse crowds has already taken a toll on the team, as the Dash was forced to layoff staff hired to help with the new ballpark.
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