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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Demise of the Newark Bears?

I can't see how things are looking good for the Newark Bears.

This year, they moved from the Atlantic League and their 140-game season to the Can-Am League and their 94 game schedule.

Through 18 home dates, they have drawn 14,779 fans - an average of 821 per game (the 2nd lowest in the league).

The team may be managed by Tim Raines with coaches Ron Karkovice and Jim Leyritz with general manager Mike Torrez, but that's not getting people in the park.

The former ownership filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the 2008 season, owing creditors more than $4.6 million.   Ozzie Smith's ownership group took control of the franchise in 2009 and assumed in the ballpark of $1 million in debt.

The team changed ownership again prior to the 2010 season with Frank Boulton (who also owns other Atlantic League franchises) taking control of the franchise.

Prior to this season and the league switch, Frank Boulton sold his majority ownership stake to minority owner Thomas Cetnar.

Drawing 821 a game isn't going to pay down that debt when you have current expenses to pay.  Attendance may be up during the summer months, but that's still far short of the 1,872 per game the club averaged last season.

I'd be surprised if the Bears are operating next year.

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