September 4, 2007 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A/Atlanta Braves) witnessed a dramatic increase in attendance during their first year of the "New Era." Spurred by a series of privately funded capital improvements and renovations to the ballpark totaling more than $2 million, the Pelicans welcomed 215,059 fans through the gates during the 2008 season. The electrifying summer at BB&T Coastal Field brought in the third-largest attendance in franchise history and the largest since the 2000 season. An average of 3,117 fans per night jumped the attendance by nearly 8% from a year ago.
"The buzz within the community for the Pelicans is red hot right now and getting stronger every day," said Pelicans President & Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg. "We are thrilled that our fans were able to enjoy all of the exciting new features at the ballpark. The greatest joy for us was to watch the look on the faces of our fans as they took in and experienced all of the improvements. We look forward to carrying the momentum of this outstanding year into the off-season, where we promise to work even harder to improve the fan experience."
The swirl of excitement for the rejuvenated franchise began on a record-breaking Opening Night (April 5, 2007) when a crowd of 6,047 shattered the previous single-game franchise of 5,836, set on April 6, 2000.
"You could just tell from that record-breaking crowd on Opening Night that this was going to be a great season," said Pelicans General Manager North Johnson. "From the new uniforms to the new features at the ballpark, a different feel was in the air and it certainly carried on during the rest of what was a memorable year."
Throughout the year, BB&T Coastal Field underwent an extreme makeover that included the installation of a state-of-the-art, high definition videoboard beyond the outfield wall, which gave Pelicans fans an entirely new level of entertainment during games. "Pelicans Beach," a seating option like none other in professional sports complete with sand, beach chairs, lifeguard posts, and a private tiki bar, became a fan favorite over the course of the season. Also, the addition of bleacher seats beyond the left field wall gave the Pelicans the distinction of being the only team in the Carolina League with seats behind the wall. Other major improvements included the construction of a new box office, a brand new grill stand on the first base side, a relocated visitor\'s bullpen, installation of flat screen televisions throughout the ballpark playing a closed circuit broadcast of each game, a new sound system, and a revamped press box.
Nationally, the Pelicans & BB&T Coastal Field shined in the spotlight in early-June when the club lent a helping hand to Coastal Carolina University as the host of the 2007 NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament. Record crowds filled the stands during the three-day event, which was broadcast throughout the country on ESPN. The tournament featured four of the top college teams in the nation as Clemson University, St. Johns University, and Virginia Commonwealth University joined Coastal Carolina University. All told, more than 15,000 fans enjoyed the three-day tournament, giving maximum exposure to the home of the Pelicans.
"Helping Coastal Carolina host the NCAA Regional Tournament was a testament to our relationship with the university," stated Johnson. "The three-day event brought many new faces to our ballpark, letting them witness first hand what the home of the Pelicans has to offer. Our involvement was something we truly enjoyed and will look to extend in the future as the CCU program continues to pick up steam along with our franchise."
The Pelicans are currently preparing for the 2008 season, which will feature the California-Carolina League All-Star Game on June 24th at BB&T Coastal Field. The Pelicans will open the 2008 season on Friday, April 4th in Wilmington, Delaware against the Blue Rocks, marking the first time since 2003 that the Pelicans will start their season on the road. The home opener is set for Friday, April 11th against the Frederick Keys at BB&T Coastal Field. During the first home stand of the year, the Pelicans will be in town from April 11-16, with three against the Keys and three more against the Winston-Salem Warthogs. For 2008 season ticket information please call 843-918-6000.