It has been less than two years since the South Bend Silver Hawks went under new ownership, and already, the team is excited for a major announcement.
Newscenter 16's Maureen McFadden sat down with the team during a one on one exclusive interview before a Thursday press conference to talk about what a new change means for Michiana and baseball in South Bend.
Silver Hawks owner Andrew Berlin will announce on Thursday, a brand new partnership with the Pokagon Band of the Potawatami Indians. It will guarantee no taxpayer money will go toward stadium upgrades for at least ten years, and maybe beyond, all due to a new partnership with Four Winds.
Newscenter 16's Maureen McFadden sat down with the team during a one on one exclusive interview before the press conference to talk about what this means for Michiana and baseball in South Bend.
The change is the naming rights to the field. What was once "Stanley Coveleski Stadium" will become "Four Winds Field at Stanley Coveleski Stadium."
Berlin is the sole owner of the team and has invested $4 million into upgrades. He says handing over the naming rights is a win-win.
"They come to us with great marketing and promotion capabilities that can help market and promote south bend," said Berlin. "Giving back to the community is really important for both organizations and working together to do that just establishes a great alliance."
Naming rights is a concept used in the majors, and has been used by organizations like, the White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago and the Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit.
As for those who may be concerned the two are an odd fit, Berlin says, "we're two businesses that are in the business of entertainment and two entertainment companies are coming back to promote South Bend."
Neither party would talk about how much money went into the partnership, but agreed the goal is to save taxpayer dollars. Plus, the field won't completely lose its namesake, Stanley Coveleski. His name will remain and more.
"We're currently in talks with the sculpture who sculpted the Michael Jordan statue for the United Center in Chicago, to have a life-sized statue of Stanley Coveleski greeting all of our fans at Center Field," said Berlin.
Tribal chairman Matt Wesaw weighed in on the partnership. He says it makes sense historically because the region has been home to the Pokagon Band for hundreds of years.
"Hundreds of years ago this used to be called ribbon town," said Wesaw. "'Sanbawodonek' is the Indian word for it, and they used to trade furs for ribbons so this only makes perfect sense."
The pair also plans to increase philanthropic ventures.
[There is] "A lot of synergy between the base of the people who live in this area who also attend Silver Hawks games," said Matt Harkness, the Four Winds COO. "We see a lot of tremendous marketing opportunities."
Wesaw said, "the Pokagon Band of the Potawatami Indians has already been here, so giving back is just part of our tradition, part of our culture."
As for rumors of an affiliation change, Berlin told Maureen that while anything is possible in baseball, he is happy with the current affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks.