“Minor League Baseball is all about fun. That’s why we take special care of every touchpoint in the customer experience,” says Hartford Yard Goats President Tim Restall. “From ticket sales to parking to our team store, we want to make every interaction easy.”
That’s a ton of interactions: Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium welcomes 6,000 fans to each game. The Yard Goats organization serves a busy box office, a merch-packed store, a host of concessions and online business for everything from tickets to “No Goats, No Glory” T-shirts. Every single transaction has to be a home run.
That’s where the Yard Goats’ partnership with Webster Bank comes into play. When they sold out their entire baseball cap inventory in one day—five times the anticipated demand—they needed to reorder overnight. So speed and efficiency was paramount. Webster’s Merchant Services helps ensure no fouls and no errors by streamlining the approval process for money transfers.
The Yard Goats chose Webster because our team has experience working with Minor League Baseball franchises. Servicing these organizations is a specialty line of banking at Webster—one that requires a knowledgable grasp of the intricacies of the industry.
“Webster understands our business model: the cash flow challenges of a seasonal business, the reporting processes we use…” says Tim. “And they worked really hard to understand the things that make the Yard Goats unique.”
What puts the Yard Goats in a league of their own? Fans voted them “Best AA Ballpark,” two years in a row. They’re the #1 team in the League for attendance, and a top 25 Minor League Baseball team for merchandise sales for two years running. Their attention to detail has even earned accolades such as “Best Mowing Pattern.”
One of their biggest points of differentiation is their community focus. Team Owner Josh Solomon puts it this way: “We have two bottom lines—the business bottom line and the community bottom line.”
That’s one reason why they’re the first Major or Minor League team to ban peanuts from the stadium—making the venue more accessible to fans with peanut allergies.
Community involvement is part of the team’s growth strategy, and that means bringing more people in during the off-season. That’s why the Yard Goats have formed partnerships with teams from UConn, the University of Hartford, and Central Connecticut State University. They’ve staged special events, like Yard Goats Youth Performing Arts Programs, in partnership with Hartford Stage, and set up a nine-hole golf course for a “Links on the Yard” event sponsored by Callaway. The stadium also welcomes private events, including weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Tim and his team keep thinking up fresh ways to enrich the fan experience. New ideas are a calculated risk, of course—often requiring capital. Webster’s financial services and category experience help make innovation possible.
“We want this to be everyone’s ballpark,” says Tim. Judging from the community’s warm embrace, the Yard Goats have all their bases covered.
The opinions and views in this blog post are those of the authors, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The Webster symbol is a registered trademark in the U.S. Webster Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. © 2019 All Rights Reserved. Webster Financial Corporation.
© 2019 Webster Financial Corporation. All rights reserved.