For sports fans, 2021 could bear some semblance of pre-pandemic life, and that notion is holding true in New Jersey’s sports stadiums.
According to a Feb. 15 announcement from the Somerset Patriots, the team has so far gotten deposits for 1,000 season tickets in the upcoming season, which kicks off this summer.
Patrick McVerry, the president and general manager for the Bridgewater-based Minor League team, cited an “overwhelming” response from fans following the news in November that the New York Yankees chose the team as their Double-A Affiliate.
“It started out with an incredible amount of requests and has been steady every day since,” he added in the Feb. 15 announcement. “We are excited to introduce our team to a whole new audience of baseball fans, while also making sure our longtime fans always remain at the top of our list.”
That decision has brought with it considerable upgrades that the team is making to the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.
“It’s important for us to continue to be an affordable option for families and businesses looking for a great night out at the ballpark,” McVerry on Feb. 15. “Fans can look for that tradition to be in place as we take our team to a whole new level.”
Pre-season bookings for season tickets this year have largely been on par with what they’ve been in years past – between 1,000 and 1,100 for the past several seasons, the team said. And the 1,080 season tickets from last year – prior to the onset of the pandemic – are being carried over into this year.
That could mean up to 2,080 season tickets this year, depending on whether it’s for a full season or just the half season, and whether guests want to go forward with the tickets this summer.
Patriots executives and local Somerset County officials contend that the Yankees’ movement from Trenton Thunder to the Patriots – which was nonetheless controversial – will be a major economic boom for the local community.
Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench said in a November interview that the Yankees affiliation could be just the “shot in the arm” the region needs as COVID-19 upends a long-standing economic model dependent on the nearby retail outlets and sprawling commercial real estate market.
Moench said that Bridgewater and much of Somerset County, long reliant on office parks and malls for revenue, have been hurt by the pandemic. Retail outlets stayed shuttered for months and can only now operate at reduced capacity. And customers have tightened their belts due to record-high unemployment.
With many companies folding or having their workers telecommute, the county’s office parks are also threatened. And the many hotels that travelers frequented for business trips to those offices also stand empty.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Feb. 16, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. EST to provide clarity on the number of tickets.