The 2020 baseball season was supposed to be a farewell tour for the Pawtucket Red Sox as the Triple-A team prepared to move to Worcester, Mass., next season. But with the Minor League Baseball season canceled, the team was forced to pivot beyond baseball.
It turned the outfield of McCoy Stadium, its home of 50 years, into a diner with a menu ranging from hot dogs to lobster rolls. There are currently more than 2,600 people on the waitlist to eat dinner at the ballpark.
That has become a common story across the country as lower-level baseball teams work to maintain connections to their community during the shutdown, while also finding unique ways to drive revenue in a sport that is heavily dependent on gameday sales such as tickets, concessions, and merchandise.
— The Pensacola Blue Wahoos listed their stadium on Airbnb and have held other events like movie nights, hoping to recoup a quarter of its usual annual $8 million in revenue.
— Several Texas-based MiLB teams sought expansion franchises in the Texas Collegiate League, a summer wood bat league. Organizations like the San Antonio Missions hope to recover a quarter of revenue from the lost MiLB season.
— The Savannah Bananas, the creative college summer league team, has launched a streaming service to serve their normally raucous crowds. More than 500 fans have already signed up for the $5.99 service, which also lets them vote on the team’s on-field decisions.
— The Lansing Lugnuts are hosting a contained summer wood bat competition with two teams for collegiate players from across the state called the Lemonade League. It hopes to have up to 500 fans in attendance for the games in July and August.