One of the new owners of the Lookouts announced Thursday afternoon several changes aimed at boosting visitor experience.
“It’s been a really busy few weeks …. We could not be more excited about what 2015 holds,” said Jason Freier, chairman and CEO of Hardball Capital and one of two people heading up the new ownership group of Chattanooga’s minor league baseball team.
Click here to read more about the Lookouts purchase, which leaders announced earlier this month.
Freier introduced FSG Bank as the Lookouts’ presenting partner for the 2015-2017 seasons.
Atlantic Capital Bancshares Inc. announced it will buy FSG.
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As presenting partner, FSG Bank will support the Lookouts’ new community initiatives, and its customers will also have access to unique fan experiences, according to a news release.
FSG Bank Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Olingy shared his passion for baseball during the announcement.
“It’s become more than a business deal; it’s also emotional, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Through the partnership with FSG, a nonprofit organization will be highlighted at each game in an effort to support the community. Officials said the goal is to help the selected nonprofits gain visibility, share their message, and attract volunteers and funds.
Freier said the partnership will help leaders further their mission of making the visitor experience at AT&T Field exceptional, and he announced several other changes and additions that will also contribute to that goal.
Crews have replaced a seating area from where fans previously couldn’t actually see the field with a new deck down the third base line. The new deck will be two levels and provide an open space.
Freier said he hopes the change makes it one of the most popular places at AT&T Field.
Crews are also are working on a total renovation of all 15 suites. Every suite will get new carpet, paint, furniture, décor and larger flat-screen TVs.
Owners are also making the suites more accessible for fans this year. Instead of having to get one for the entire season, they will now be available for half a season-35 games-or a quarter of the season-17 games.
There will also be five-, seven- and 10-game package deals for the suites.
“After 15 years, the suites were starting to show their age,” Freier said.
Two redesigned spaces on the suite level will be offered as “all-inclusive,” meaning they come with all-you-can-eat-and-drink perks included in one base price.
Crews are also reconfiguring the Budweiser Lounge, which is near first base, and adding concessions to that area.
Concessions are getting an upgrade throughout the stadium. Owners bought new equipment for the main concessions area, and there’s going to be a new food cart on the ballpark concourse.
Those changes will allow for a wider variety of options, fresher food and shorter lines, Freier said.
To enhance the fan experience, owners will allow children to come on the field and run the bases after every game this season.
For adults, owners are adding drink specials starting as low as $2.
And Sundays will now be “Autograph Day,” when fans are able to meet their favorite players and get their signatures.
When asked if he thinks the changes will boost attendance, Freier said that in all his other minor league baseball ventures, he has had success in increasing attendance.
“It’s hard to point to one thing [and say that will boost attendance], but I’ve found if you stay focused on the fan experience, attendance will increase,” he said.