Montgomery: A Case Study of Growth Through Baseball

Montgomery is not your average small market city with a minor league baseball team.  Unlike the Huntsville Stars, whose stadium is built in an abandoned airport or the Birmingham Barons, who should actually be called the Hoover Barons, the Montgomery Biscuits play in a stadium that is built square in the middle of downtown adjacent to the Alabama River.  The 26 million dollar stadium was actually funded by the city by a series of bonds and the team pays rent on the use of it.  What this means is that the city gets their cut of ticket sales and food sales for every game. This may not seem like much, but when you consider that the biscuits have the highest attendance in the entire Southern League the amount can add up quite quickly.

Before the Biscuits began play in 2004, the area around where the stadium is now was pretty run down.  Granted there were a few hotels in the area, a byproduct of the fact that Montgomery is the state capitol, there was no real life to the area.  The area had few attractions, a limited restaurant selection, and no economic development.  However, after 2004 that all changed.  According to Sherrie Myers, co-owner of the Biscuits, “my impression was that downtown Montgomery was not exactly a place people were hanging out after 5 o’clock. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy that nobody wanted to spend time downtown except for the businesses that had been there for a long time. It was also hard for people to get new businesses to want to come in to downtown.”

A case in point of how the team has impacted the development of the area can be seen right across the street from the stadium.

The Alley Bar

The Alley, opened just a few years after the stadium and its success is directly tied to the success of the Biscuits.  A twenty foot wide alley way is lined with restaurants and bars where friends can have dinner and a few drinks before the game or continue the celebration of a Biscuits win after the game.  Lloyd Faulkner, the city’s director of finance believes that “the Biscuits have been the tipping point for downtown,” noting that new business are viewing Montgomery as a viable place to move and create jobs for the area.

Although we were not able to catch the game in Montgomery due to another hellacious storm, we could tell that this team means a lot to this city.  The number of fans that had already walked up to buy tickets to the game before it was called, probably outnumbered the total number of fans we saw in Birmingham and Huntsville combined.  People love to come and see the Biscuits (frankly who wouldn’t love to see them considering they have the greatest mascot in all of sports in my opinion).  They have a great stadium, a great area to visit, great restaurants and watering holes, and a plan that other cities should follow when building a small market baseball fanbase.  If any cities are considering bringing a minor league team, you should look no further than Montgomery Alabama.  It seems that in Montgomery, they built it and they came.

Advertisements

One response to this post.

  1. […] to be a gigantic economic boost, it can help. As I’ve stated many times before, the Montgomery Biscuits are one of the sole reasons why so much redevelopment has occurred in the downtown Montgomery area. […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: