Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Newark Bears ~ Winding Down a Precarious Summer

From the desk of:  THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  Facing an Early; and Maybe Even Permanent; Hibernation.

Without trying to be funny, the Bears are headed towards an early; and maybe even a permanent; hibernation.  Even less humorous, is there are many layers to that opening line.  Said plainly, the Newark Bears are in trouble.

Even three inch Bear claws couldn't have prevented them from slipping so badly in the standings.  They lost their grip sometime shortly before the first half ended.  Since then, it's been a lean summer for the grizzlies from Newark.  They are currently in seventh place and 7.5 games behind first place Brockton in the season's second-half standings.  But the truth is, they should be in last.  The New York Federals are a filler team from the New York State League; needed to keep schedule integrity.  And truth be told, they aren't that good;  ...not at this level anyway.

Overall this season, the Bears find themselves with a 34-41 record and in sixth place.  The only teams below them are the previously mentioned Federals in last place, and the newest Atlantic League expansion team; the Rockland Boulders in seventh.

And this is where things get worse for Newark.

The Quebec Capitales lead the League in attendance.  So this discussion centers on the American based teams of the CanAm League.  With less than 20 games remaining in the regular season, the first-year Rockland County Boulders are the undisputed kings in attendance.  The New Jersey Jackals; who play just twelve miles away from Newark are second in the League in attendance behind Rockland.  Rockland plays their games forty-one miles away from Newark.

The Newark Bears surpass only the Pittsfield Colonials in attendance this season.  But that is misleading.  Pittsfield's home park is quite small with a limited max capacity; (3,500).  Even so, they're averaging just under 800 per game.  The Bears are averaging just over 900 per game.  I believe that may be an average number being supported by their sponsors and that their true attendance is even weaker.  But what's clearly evident, is the walk-up gate is virtually nonexistent.  A routine weekday/night game usually only brings in about 200+/- fans.

And here's the kicker.  Over the weekend, the Rockland Boulders bought ad-space on the bottom of the back page of the N.Y. Daily News and had commercials airing on 1050espnRadio as well.  Those are expenditures the Bears are finding virtually impossible to fund right now.  They no longer broadcast on radio and have ceased their web casting this season.  So advertising, is strictly out of the question.

In a best case scenario, for the Newark Bears, it looks like more, severe, cut-backs are in order.  I wouldn't know how well the decision to switch over to the CanAm League went for ownership.  The move was designed to save them money.  But I truly wonder how much longer they can exist this way?


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