The Schaumburg Boomers' second opening day is this Thursday, May 16, but the independent league baseball team rolled out the red carpet two days early by hosting the Schaumburg Business Association's monthly breakfast meeting.
Though last year brought with it the novelty value of being a new entity in town, General Manager Andy Viano said from a business perspective he has much more reason to be excited about year two.
"Absolutely, I'd rather be where we are this year," Viano said. "When we pick up the phone, people know who we are."
A week ago, the team's presold ticket revenue for group outings and other deals already surpassed all those they collected during the 2012 season, he said.
Nevertheless, the biggest hurdle the franchise faces is still getting name recognition of its brand.
At a recent event at Arlington International Racecourse where the team was doing some promotions, one attendee asked whether the Boomers were "like the Flyers," the team that preceded them at the Schaumburg stadium and was eventually evicted over late rent payments, Director of Marketing and Media Ed McCaskey said.
But the Boomers made a big distinction from their predecessors last year not only in the upkeep of the stadium and the quality of food and services, but in the quality of the baseball itself.
The Boomers ended the season with a 54-42 record, missing the playoffs by just one game. In fact, at Boomers Stadium itself, local fans saw the team win exactly twice as many home games as it lost.
This year's first game, against the Windy City Thunderbolts, begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. And Friday's 6:30 p.m. game against the Washington Wild Things will be capped off by the first Friday night fireworks show of the season.
Tuesday morning's guest speaker at the Schaumburg Business Association meeting was CBS 2 Chicago weekend anchor and general assignment reporter Marissa Bailey. She gave local business leaders advice on how to get more media attention by thinking more visually about ribbon-cuttings and similar events and looking for compelling human stories among their staffs.