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A Letter from Quint & Rishy Studer

June 3, 2020 - Southern League (SL) - Pensacola Blue Wahoos News Release

To Blue Wahoos fans,

It was wonderful being at the stadium Saturday evening for our first Movie & Fireworks Night. Thank you for coming. To see so many families, children, and Blue Wahoos fans having a great time at the ballpark, I could feel that Blue Wahoos community spirit.

Many fans approached Rishy and me at the event with questions about the season. We were asked many times if the Blue Wahoos will play this season. We were also asked what will happen to the Blue Wahoos employees if we are unable to play baseball.

We'd like to address those questions.

First, will there be a season? The honest answer is that we still don't know. However, although I may be surprised, I do not think so. Major and Minor League Baseball want the very safest conditions for players, fans, and staff in their ballparks. The MLB 67-page safety plan shows that commitment to safety. Minor League teams face challenges that may make following that safety plan untenable including smaller locker rooms, long bus travel with full buses, and shared hotel rooms. With reports pointing to Major League teams looking to expand rosters if and when they play, that will impact the number of players available to Minor League teams. For those reasons, I don't think the Blue Wahoos will play this season. But know, if we are able to play, our staff was ready for Opening Day in April and we remain ready now.

When the season was postponed, we quickly looked for different ways to welcome fans safely into our ballpark, to continue to provide affordable family events, and to provide work opportunities for our staff. This has led to our stadium functioning as a restaurant, a disc golf course, a movie theater, and an Airbnb. Our ballpark is proving to be an excellent, safe open space for people to gather and we plan to host more and more events at the stadium as things open up more.

However, even with all of these events, our best forecasts leave our organization looking at a $3 million loss this year if there is no season. This number may change dependent on the number of sponsors and Season Ticket Members who request refunds versus rolling their dollars to the 2021 season with us, but this pandemic has created difficult financial decisions for our team regardless. The fact that we have had so few requests for refunds from our fans and sponsors shows the loyalty our fans hold for our ballclub, and we're incredibly grateful for that.

Now, to our staff. Rishy and I have decided that we will not furlough any of our front-office staff, trainees, or interns regardless of whether the season is canceled or not. While this will increase financial losses this year, investing in our staff now will make us stronger when baseball returns. Our mission as an organization is to improve the quality of life in our city, and keeping our staff employed meets this mission by helping provide for them and their families and allowing us to continue to offer safe community events at our ballpark. Our staff will operate our restaurant service, ballpark events, disc golf course, Airbnb, and continue to think of creative new ideas to utilize Blue Wahoos Stadium. It's possible that even with these events, our staff will still have a smaller workload than they would during the baseball season. In those cases, we will offer our staff to area non-profit organizations to help them with their work in our community.

I hope this answers the two most frequently asked questions.

On behalf of all us at with the Blue Wahoos, thank you very much for your continued support.

-Quint & Rishy Studer


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