Tincaps improving after pandemic years
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - At the beginning of the 2022 season, the Tincaps were swinging for the fences, hoping to return to their pre-pandemic ways.
In 2021 they faced crowd size restrictions, fewer events, and the organization struggled to find staff.
“Literally last year the full-time front office staff picked up all the trash after games overnight, because the ballpark opens the next morning and we couldn’t find people that were willing to do it.”
Team President Mike Nutter says they couldn’t continue to operate like that.
“This year we got more aggressive, way out in front,” Nutter said. “Not all the way back, but in concessions, the crew really, really performed well. In our special events, they performed very, very well and they were able to get people.”
He says the club raised wages for concessions workers, bringing pay up to between 15 and 17 dollars when you include tips. That helped bring in more workers.
Special Events Manager Holly Raney and her staff focused on events even beyond baseball, bringing in attractions like Nitro Circus to Parkview Field.
“Some of the events we will keep the same next year. Some things just happen across your email that you can’t say no to. So, the walks have come back. So, this fall and spring are heavy on not-for-profit walks. Those will be coming back,” Raney said.
Even with the pay hike for cleaners and grounds crew, they still had some trouble bringing in enough staff in those areas. So, they turned to an outside company for help.
As for what’s ahead, Nutter says you’ll see even more fireworks and promotional nights next year, saying “People are going to continue to see a return to normalcy, and then we will have new things in the venue. Don’t know what those are, but we’ve never just sat back on our laurels and said hey this is good enough.”
The crowd size for 2022 did not reach pre-pandemic 2019 numbers, expected to reach 300,000 total versus 371,000 in 2019, but Nutter expects the hard work they’ll continue to do will bring more people together than ever at Parkview Field.
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