HBJ: Dillon Stadium Overhaul Experiencing "Unexpected Surprises"

CRDA’s Mike Freimuth and HSG’s Bruce Mandell

CRDA’s Mike Freimuth and HSG’s Bruce Mandell

The Hartford Business Journal published a report today describing “unexpected surprises” during the Capital Region Development Authority and Hartford Sports Group’s redevelopment effort of Dillon Stadium.

The HBJ reports, “to avoid project cost overruns, CRDA is considering a variety of changes to stay under budget, including reducing the stadium's capacity from 6,000 to 5,000 seats.” While this may sound like a reasonable cost-saving measure, 1,000 fewer in attendance, a 17% reduction in capacity, will certainly do sizable damage to Hartford Sports Groups already shaky pro forma — and their promised economic benefits to the people of Hartford.

The HBJ went on to report, “the seat reduction would allow CRDA to cut the number of restrooms and concessions needed to accommodate a capacity crowd...” These measures translate to further damage to the overall customer experience and HSG’s bottom line.

Finally, “CRDA has also considered retaining the stadium's old scoreboard instead of buying new.” While we agree the old scoreboard should remain — it’s a historic, cool feature — not adding a new video scoreboard seriously diminishes the value proposition for any potential stadium naming sponsor, in-game advertisers and the overall production value. Even further, spectators lose the ability to absorb important live game information including instant replays and statistics reducing the venue experience to an amateur production.

In short, CRDA and Hartford Sports Group are cutting their legs out from themselves in an attempt to salvage an ill-conceived plan. The reality is Bruce Mandell and HSG will need to cover the financial shortfalls to honor their promises made to the people of Hartford if this project is going to survive.

Read the Hartford Business Journal’s full report here.

TJ ClynchComment