Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The Boise Hawks are off to a decent start here in 2010 going into tonight with a 9-9 record and only 1/2 game out of first.  It is going to be a tight division run for the first half title as all four teams in the East Division are within one game of each other.  A win one night or a loss one night will mean a ton as we move through the next 20 games.  Could be a fun night on Monday, July 26th in Yakima as we may be playing for a First Half Division Title.  What that means is that we are guaranteed a first round playoff spot in the newly formatted Northwest League playoffs for 2010.  If not, we start 0-0 on July 28th and try to win the 2nd half.

The play on the field by your Hawks has been pretty good.  Newcomer Pierre LePage has a great name and a nice bat and glove as well.  He is leading our offensive punch in his short stay so far.  Corey Martin, one of the 12 returning Hawks players, has found a spot in the bullpen as our closer and has 5 saves in 5 opps.  We are even seeing some power this summer from everyone like Brandon May to Richard Jones to Arismendy Alcantara, a guy who looks like he is 5-foot nothing.  A nice mix of pitching, offense and defense has allowed us to taste first place for the first time since 2008.

But any of you following the Hawks know much of this.  What you may not have observed are the following:
  • The Hawks have played 8 home games and we have sold out 5 of them!  Yes, Opening Night and July 3rd were expected but we have been lucky with the schedule and have had 3 other sellouts.  We are averaging 3,000 fans per game through the first 8 games and are 3rd in the league.  In 2007-2009 we finished 5th in the league each year.  Not a bad start.
  • Our promotions have been pretty fun if I say so myself.  Our July 3rd fireworks show was the best Independence Day show since I've been here.  Great stuff!  Plus the giveaways have been fun, the on-field promos have been great and the fans are really antimated this summer providing a great atmosphere.
  • The merchandise store is now on the main concourse and it is reaping some nice sales.  The cold weather has helped as we have diminished the blanket and sweatshirt inventory but the location outside of the building and more visible has made our fans happy and that is what we strive to do.
  • We have gotten rave reviews about our new Thirsty Thursday in which we have a beer batter every inning through the 7th.  In two games we have had 5 beer batter innings and the people seem to love it, although I had my first regular approach me and said that he wanted us to go back to the old way.  We'll play it out this summer with the beer batter concept and then reassess.
With all of these great things going on it is still an on-going battle with this stadium.  As much as we and the fans seem to love Memorial Stadium (especially in the shade) the constant need to upgrade electricity or maintain the current levels is a battle that is exhausting.  We have had over 30 of our seats broken in 8 games and these aren't cheap to fix.  However, they are fairly brittle and it is a constant challenge for our stadium crew to keep things in repair.  So if you have had a broken seat this summer so far, my apologies and I hope we have fixed it as soon as we could.

Our field has had a ton of action on it over the spring and it is showing.  We have some hot spots and wear due to concerts, festivals and a lot of baseball on the field.  We are going to work with Zamzow's to get the soil rehabilitated so that we can provide a lush green "stage" for you.  But this is again something that doesn't get enough attention due to the fact that we really probably need to replace the infield and start all over again this fall.  Seed it and let it grow until the spring but we are fighting the battles with other stadium issues and it is tough to keep it up.  But we are coming up with solutions and hope that we can provide a better view of the field for you. 

When it comes down to it, this blog was meant to be about stadium and possibility of a new one.  Memorial Stadium is a nice, adequate ballpark and if July 3rd's crowd was any testament to its usefulness, it is still a great crowd pleaser on the big nights.  The July 3rd atmosphere probably reminded people of the 1990s as the wave made an appearance and our operation was running like a top.  But the need for more handicapped accessible seats, more seats in general (over 500 SRO tickets were sold) and a facility that as Mayor Dave Bieter says, "Boise deserves the best".  As much as I like Memorial Stadium a new facility would add so much to the life of this valley.  Think of how great it would to have soccer during the World Cup time frame.  Think how cool it would be to ice skate outside (maybe even an outdoor Steelies game?) during the holidays.  The plans have been discussed but trust me from an operational standpoint we need a new facility in a big way to provide Boise and the valley "what it deserves".

Friday, May 21, 2010


Don’t forget to check out www.TreasureValleySportsandEntertainment.org for the latest information regarding the multi use sports and entertainment complex being considered for development in the valley.

This site includes a “Stadium of the Week” feature that highlights a recently built stadium including pictures and specifics on capacity, costs, funding mechanisms used etc, as well as great “insider” information from the feasibility analysis commissioned by the Boise Hawks for the construction of a facility here in the Treasure Valley.

Keep up on all of the current happenings at http://www.treasurevalleysportsandentertainment.org

Friday, May 14, 2010


To begin, sorry I've taken some time away from the "blogosphere".  This time of year is incredibly busy to just get the upcoming 2010 season ready to go.  Plus, I don't have much to report on the stadium progress.  The one thing I have learned about this process is that there is a lot of time spent on research, producing reports and distributing information.  We have gotten to a point where the information that we have put together has been distributed and many people are reviewing it.  Next steps are being analyzed at this point but that takes time to make sure you aren't stepping on a land mine with the first step.  Much more to come, hopefully sooner than later.

As I stated above, my time right now is being spent on getting those last few sponsorship packages sold and trying to make sure that  the ballpark is full with rabid fans of fun entertaining summer nights at Memorial Stadium.  The other day we had an ad submitted to the Idaho Business Review for publication next week.  I took the time to use this ad as an "editorial" on why I think that businesses of the Treasure Valley, and quite frankly all over the world, don't use their advanced ticket package properly.  Whether it is season tickets or mini-plans or a suite, I think that companies need to look at being more active in using their tickets like a real marketing tool.  I don't think people look at tickets as a marketing tool all of the time.  Yes, it is a great way to say "thank you" by giving them to customers and loyal employees, you have to market to them as well.  However, using these great tools to affect new sales is not on the top of the mind of advanced  ticket buyers, and it should be.

I wanted to share with you the advertisement editorial that I wrote to be the first to understand my platform.  Here it is:


YOU are not using sports tickets correctly
In today’s economic landscape we are all wondering, “How do we generate more sales?”. Heck, whether times are good or bad, we want more sales. I’ve got a question for you:

If I gave you 38 opportunities to have a one-on-one sales meeting with a potential client, how many of those meetings would result in a sale?
YOU are asking your sales people to get out of the office, have meetings with potential clients and build relationships. How better to do that than with the original “social media” – an actual face-to-face contact with a prospect! I’m here to tell you that YOU are not properly utilizing Memorial Stadium as YOUR “office away from the office”.
“I want more ROI,” YOU say. But more often than not when we probe for actual data on the ROI, we can’t get a definitive answer.

Boise Hawks tickets can bring sales and great ROI to your business. YOU aren’t allowing it! Many businesses in this valley buy Hawks and other sports team tickets and simply waste them. YOU give your tickets away and many times leave them unused. There are many excellent ways to use tickets but the best way is to use these as a means to affect sales.

Let’s “reduce this to the ridiculous”. How about some quick “Ticket Math”:

(Closes X Average Sale) / Cost of Tickets = Ticket ROI

As stated above, if I gave you 38 opportunities to have a one-on-one meeting with a prospect, how many of those meetings would close with a sale? I’m sure everyone reading this would feel that “if I have a one-on-one chance with a prospect I can close a lot of those meetings.” OK, let’s say for argument sake that you close 25% of your sales calls (I’m shooting low, of course!) which would equal 9.5 closes. Let’s round down to 9 to be conservative. Next, what is your average sale? For example, if your average initial sale is $1250, this would mean you would generate $11,250 from your season tickets. If you bought the most popular seats at Memorial Stadium, you would own a box of six seats that would cost you $2,760. That means your ROI would be 4:1. This doesn’t even take into consideration sales to those clients for years after that initial sale.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it. YOU can affect your sales pretty easily if you have a sales staff that want to work hard after hours, have some fun at a ballgame with a new friend and can close deals!

Boise Hawks tickets help CLOSE deals, BUILD relationships and CREATE memories!

June 21st is closing in on us quickly. That is the night the Boise Hawks open the season against the hated Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and it is the first opportunity for YOU and your sales team to close a deal.

If managing 38 games is going to be too difficult, there are other opportunities to affect YOUR sales. Can YOU manage 7 games because the Hawks offer mini-plans. How about a one night sales opportunity to a big group? The Hawks offer group packages .

But don’t let June 21st come and go because there are no excuses at the end of the year when sales are down. YOU have the tools right here for the taking with Boise Hawks tickets. Call us to consult with YOU on which package makes the most sense for YOUR objectives. This works if YOU allow it to. Hope to see YOU at the yard!

Spread the word!  We have a product in tickets that can do wonders for sales if used properly.  I've got some great salespeople who can consult you or your friends on this.  Trust me on this, it works.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Crimson Business Development has built a website for the Treasure Valley Sports and Entertainment Complex project.  This site is set up to allow people to interact, get updated news and articles taken from area media outlets, and has interesting features.  You will find some great profiles of stadiums from around the country and today Crimson has revealed some of the survey findings that were included in the feasibility study commissioned by the Hawks.

For more information on Crimson Business Development, check out their website crimsonbizdev.com.


Monday, April 19, 2010


With all of the news in the air about the Hawks being a catalyst for a new stadium development project in either Boise or Meridian for the future, it leaves the question about what is happening at Memorial Stadium in the present.  A new stadium is still quite a ways down the line so the Hawks need to address today as much as addressing the future.  I just wanted to share with you a little bit of what is going on here as we plan on being in Memorial Stadium for at least the next 2-3 years, and who knows, maybe much, much longer.  Here are some of the projects we are working on right now:

New front office - Many people probably don't even know that our front office isn't at the ballpark.  It is currently down the street right near the corner of Glenwood and Chinden.  In 2000, the team was owned by a radio group and they moved from the stadium to an off-site office near the Boise Towne Square.  After 3 years there, the team was sold and chose again to have offices located off-site and we have been here ever since.  There was a long-term lease signed and we have contemplated moving back the ballpark for a few years now and on May 3rd, the Hawks front office will again be at the ballpark!  It will be a little tight for our staff but we are taking over the merchandise store area and the office that is located behind there and coming up with a nice space.  It is going to be great to have one spot fans can come and find us.  From a marketing standpoint, this is the only way to go.

New merchandise store - Or rather, merchandise trailer.  We have secured a "NASCAR" like merchandise trailer and will have it located on the main concourse of the stadium outside of the old merchandise store.  This is really going to raise the visibility of the store and make it much easier for fans to track down where to buy a team cap or t-shirt.  In the past, the store was located right inside the front gates but was very difficult to find.  The frontage wasn't good and the signage wasn't enough.  Hopefully this new addition will make it easier for everyone to see what we have.  FYI - new alternate caps this summer featuring an orange crown, green bill and the "talon" logo on the front.

Clubhouse expansion - Not a huge one, but we are responding to some of the requests of our parent club, the Cubs, into making the clubhouse a little roomier.  There is a space that was a storage room for our grounds crew that makes a wonderful spot to expand the manager and coaches' office.  It will double the space that is used by up to eight people at a time when you factor roving instructors.  We will be addressing more clubhouse issues in the next couple of years as well but this is step one.

Hawks Nest Cafe expansion - We will be adding more tables in the "cafe" area that are used by season ticket holders and fans to have a nice sit down dinner before the games.  In 2009 we had about 18 tables and this year we will add another 6-8 tables as the area gets more popular year-after-year.  Also, look for more menu options and some post-game events in this area on Friday nights.

Every summer we are thinking about the next summer and what additions and expansions we can make to accomodate the fans.  Unfortunately in 2010, a few of our projects are more about getting "non-fan" areas addressed so that we can make our affiliate happy and save some money to reinvest in the ballpark for 2011. 

As I stated in my first blog, Memorial Stadium is our "Home Sweet Home" and we need to continue to offer it TLC and upgrade it for our fans.  Even though we are pursuing options on new stadium projects, we are not forgetting about Memorial Stadium and our mindset is that we will be here for the rest of our lease through 2038.  With that in mind, you have to continue to strive for upgrading the facility and our company to better deliver the Hawks to the Treasure Valley.  We are committed to customer service, a clean atmosphere and fun, fun and more fun!  Sprinkle in some good food and it is a nice night out to the ballpark. 

Curb appeal will be different in 2010 as well as you will see the new marketing campaign "Hawkstown USA" marked all over the park.  Tune in for my next blog discussing the Hawkstown USA concept. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


If you have a Facebook page, become a fan of Treasure Valley Sports and Entertainment Complex.  This blog will be linked there plus more updates on the stadium project will be presented there.

Coming soon will be the new TreasureValleySportsandEntertainment.org website that will be devoted completely to the stadium project and will be accessible to everyone.

BoiseHawks.com, the Boise Hawks Facebook page and Twitter accounts are other excellent ways to get news.  The Hawks season starts June 18th in Yakima with the home opener on Monday, June 21st.  Go to BoiseHawks.com and find the Facebook and Twitter links under Multimedia/Social Networking.

Become part of the discussion and enjoyment of Boise Hawks Baseball!!!


Welcome to Rahr Insight, a blog dedicated to Boise Hawks fans and interested parties following the project we are dubbing the Treasure Valley Sports and Entertainment Complex project.  My goal is to give you insights on the Boise Hawks operation focusing mainly on the business aspects of the team.  As many of you have been hearing about, the potential multi-use stadium that is being discussed in Boise and Meridian relates directly to the Boise Hawks and I want to give you information, create discussions and have you "join the ride".  I look forward to comments from readers of this blog and hope that I can shed light on not only potential facilities but why we do some of the things we do with the Boise Hawks.  So let's get started!

There has been much in the news lately about this new stadium thing.  Many of the reports indicate things that I would like to respond to and it would be appropriate to list some of them and then give you my comments.  Here are the main things that I want to talk about:

This will be a Boise Hawks stadium:  The Boise Hawks play 38 home games per season leaving Memorial Stadium open for 327 other days during the year without a tenant to use the facility.  We contract on approximately another 10-15 dates and run non-Hawks events like FanFest and Blues, Brews and BBQs as well.  In the Treasure Valley Sports and Entertainment Complex the Boise Hawks would be the main tenant but would not be the only one.  The feasibility study that the Hawks commissioned and paid for includes professional soccer, high school sports, tournaments, concerts and an open-air ice rink.  A prospective calendar was put together that showed a potential 166 days of use for the facility!  That doesn't even include other things like festivals, car shows, high school graduations, or even an outdoor prom.  Wherever this stadium is built the Boise Hawks will be a big part of it in terms of the sheer amount of people that can be drawn to games.  However, the Hawks will be just a part of it.

The Hawks are pitting Boise against Meridian:  This project isn't just something that was whipped together in the last 6-8 months, it has been an on-going dialogue with both cities for that last 4-5 years.  As we look forward to the next 30-50 years of Boise Hawks baseball we needed to have a plan to address our facility.  Whether we had a brand spanking new one or one that was 16 years old (at the time we started this), you need to keep the future in mind and how your facility ties into your business plan.  Simultaneously we had some casual discussions with some friends in both Boise and Meridian and there became an idea of a new facility in the Treasure Valley.  Heck, we talked with Garden City and Nampa as well.  In all of these discussions we focused on each city's redevelopment plans.  In Meridian, what is now Destination Downtown and that vision was shared with us.  In Boise, Nampa and Garden City we had the same type of discussions.  It became apparent that there might be an opportune time to explore a new facility as Boise and Meridian especially were looking toward the next 50 years.  So to say that Meridian is trying to steal the Hawks from Boise or that we are pitting each city against the other is simply a ridiculous statement!  Both cities are trying to better their city for their residents and it just so happens that they are both doing it at the same time and a stadium project fits very nicely with both.  To keep all options open for the team we have been working with both, trying to advise them on how we see the Hawks and potential other events being a part of a project and, this is important, we have had complete disclosure with both cities ever since we started talking.  Both cities have been very gracious and understand our position but have also realized that this project could be a great project for the greater good of the Treasure Valley.  Certainly, if this project happens it will be located in one of those cities and one of those cities will not have it.  There is some competitive spirit and all that does is help this region.

The Hawks are holding this over the heads of these cities so they can get AAA baseball:  I'm going to write a whole different blog on AAA baseball soon, but in response to this I can tell you that this is not true.  We have been very upfront that the Treasure Valley could eventually be a great AAA market, but it is not ready for that level yet.  Why?  Most AAA teams play in cities much, much bigger than this area.  The business base is bigger as well.  Eventually growth in this market will start to rev up again and we are thinking long-term, 10-15 years after the stadium would be built, that AAA could come to Boise.  We have no desire to "go AAA" because there is more to it than declaring we want to do this.  The investment needed to do this and the amount of money it would add to the stadium cost make this a prohibitive option in our minds.  Again, more to come on this subject in a separate blog.

The Hawks are asking for the public to fund this facility:  There will be quite a bit more on this subject over the next few months but again, if you are of the belief that this facility is going to be totally funded by public money you are sorely mistaken.  The feasibility study that we presented to MDC today and will do so with Boise in the next week or so is based on a stadium management company running the facility.  As we continue our discussions with both cities our main task right now is to figure out a financing strategy.  But to put it in perspective with comparable facilities around the country, the average facility is built with 70% public funding and most stadiums have approximately 65-75 event dates.  Without having plans even close to finalized it would be inappropriate  for me to speculate on the exact percentages but for this to work it will have to be a partnership. 

Memorial Stadium is a terrible place:  WRONG!  I will take more time on this subject as well in the future but I want to mention that we are not looking for a new facility because we hate Memorial Stadium.  In 2006 we commissioned a renovation study that would upgrade the facility to include new and added seating, increased clubhouse capacity, expanded concourse with a new merchandise store and box office, field and outfield fence renovation, and much more.  It came back to us as a possible $8.5-$11 million project.  We haven't thrown this out.  It is still an option.  What Memorial Stadium provides is an excellent place for families to be entertained for a very inexpensive cost, as little as a $1 ticket on a Wednesday night.  It provides awesome sight lines, there is really not a bad seat in the house to watch the game.  Food prices are reasonable and the quality has been a main focus of ours.  The backdrop of the tree line and the foothills is outstanding.  Plus we strive for a clean, safe place and try to entertain the pants off of you.  Hopefully the guys on the field do their job and win some games as well.  Don't forget, free parking!  But Memorial Stadium is somewhat restricting when it comes to some of the other things we would like to do, such as, pro soccer and high school sports and we all know about the sun on 1st base.  But those seats sell out on numerous occasions when there is a great fireworks show or fun promotion.  So to think that it is a new stadium or the Hawks are bolting the Treasure Valley, that is simply not the case.  But as any business does, we need to look at all options for our well-being in the next 10, 20, 30+ years or we wouldn't be very responsible to our ownership or the residents of this valley.

I hope you made it through this first blog without going on to something else because it is lengthy.  I will try to tone it down and have smaller bites for you to read in the future.  But I felt with the amount of news out there in the last two months it was appropriate to get my take on these subjects.  Again, I will address Memorial Stadium and AAA baseball in two separate blogs and I will also address things that challenge us on a day-to-day basis.  Thanks for taking the time to read my insights and please let me know what your thoughts are as this may spur more blog ideas and discussion. 

- Todd