Frost Heaves Fold
Unfortunately, the Vermont Frost Heaves folded this past week. It marks the end of a storied chapter in Vermont sports. A vision to continue professional basketball in small town Vermont came head to head with increasing operating costs such as insurance, travel, and lodging against declining revenue from business sponsorships and ticket sales during one of the worst recessions in generations. GO Heaves, Inc., attempted to revitalize the spirit and energy of the Vermont Frost Heaves this season, but increasing debt with little hope of new revenue led to the in-season demise.
When team management broke the news to the team on Wednesday, January 19, to a man, the players thanked us for the opportunity to play in Vermont. This was a group of young men who had already endured a pay cut the week before and knew that finances were uppermost in management's mind. This was as fine a group of men that's ever put on a Frost Heaves uniform.
We entered the season cutting expenses and increasing business trading. We booked over $130,000 in business services as trades reducing the need for expenditures in those areas. We decided to travel to away games in 2 12 person passenger vans instead of luxury coaches which significantly cut the travel budget. We kept player salaries at a league low and stayed at the same Frost Heaves level in years past. We parceled out certain acitivities to fans such as player laundry to help contain costs. In retrospect, we probably should've done something different with player lodging, a significant expenditure. Nonetheless, we mindful of the razor-thin difference between revenue and cost.
The fact of the matter is that despite our best efforts, we didn't make it work. We started the season with 2 goals - finish the season and make the playoffs. Its a results oriented business and we didn't achieve the results we wanted. We wanted to draw 1,200 people to each home game and we were averaging barely 850 after 5 games. We wanted to book $80,000 in business sponsorships but we only brought in $42,000. We kept hearing the Frost Heaves were a community asset, but when it came time for people to come to the games and to support the team financially, we didn't come close to our goals. Ticket prices were significantly reduced because we knew money was tight and we wanted to have prices that reflected the "family affordability" mantra we believed in. While we were increasing our fan base slightly after each game, with only 10 total home games, there isn't a lot of time to work with.
For those of who believed so much in what the Frost Heaves meant to central Vermont, this past week was a heartbreaking moment, but when we couldn't pull anymore rabbits out of the hat, we knew it was time to cancel the rest of the season. We had already started to rack up debt and while we could've gone another week or two including an away game and one more home game, the debt would've increased. We all agreed that we wouldn't string our business partners, our fans, and vendors along once we knew we were done.
Our friends at the Vermont Lake Monsters and the Vermont Mountaineers have stepped up to help out our season ticket holders by exchanging season passes for tickets. So hold onto your yellow laminated season pass until you're contacted by these two organizations.
Several of our players have landed with other PBL teams - Mike Williams is in Rochester, Julian Allen is with Halifax, Casaan Breedon is with Dayton, and Ross DeMasi and Dwuan Rice are being courted by Saint John. We hope all of our guys will find new cities to play in - they are exceptional young men, and we're so sorry we couldn't continue to have them play into Vermont.
While we did have a record of 2-5, we were competitive and we were improving every game. We had the great opportunity to have one of the finest young coaches, Joe Salerno, around working everyday to improve our team, but more importantly teaching and guiding our young players to become better citizens.
Our website will shut down soon so this may be our last opportunity to communicate with you through the Bump in the Road Club. I'd suggest you connect with Bump the Moose on Facebook to receive additional updates.
We do plan to sell some assets to help pay off our debt so look for more details through Facebook. Our on-line store through our website is still open and you can buy Frost Heaves gear until it's gone or the website closes.
So....for now, thanks to everyone for their support to the Frost Heaves these past 4 and a half years, and hope to see ya in the stands sometime soon.
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Premier Basketball League Stories from January 31, 2011
- Two Former Frost Heaves En Route to Saint John - Saint John Riptide
- Kirk Snyder Departs from Rainmen - Halifax Rainmen
- Frost Heaves Fold - Vermont Frost Heaves
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