Springfield's collegiate summer baseball franchise, the Champion City Kings, will conclude its inaugural season next week. The team has made a good impression so far on fans and city officials.
Last night was a good example of the team's progress: The Kings unveiled a brand new $200,000 video scoreboard prior to their game against the Richmond River Rats. The scoreboard is 34 feet tall and features an 11-foot-high video monitor.
Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital, Speedway, LLC, Bobby Fisher Distributors and the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau each donated $50,000 towards the costs of the scoreboard, which will be gifted to the National Trail Parks and Recreation District at the end of a five year loan period.
"This was a big night for Springfield," said Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Mike McDorman at the dedication ceremony. "Obviously, it took a lot of people coming together to built this state-of-the-art video scoreboard at our Carleton Davidson field," McDorman said. "We are really excited about it and we are really excited about the Champion City Kings."
The Kings' schedule included 31 home games this summer, and they have an average attendance of 544 people per game. Team owner Ron Heineman indicated that he plans to have his franchise call Springfield home for many years to come.
"The whole team is excited to serve the city of Springfield. The fans have been just great," Heineman said. "Our own homegrown Rick White is our general manager and has done a tremendous job of pulling all of this together."
Leann Castillo of the National Trail Parks and Recreation Board feels the new franchise has added more than just baseball to the city.
"When people are looking at a city to live in, they want to see what's around, not only the good schools, and the good communities, but what there is for their employees and them to do when they're not at work," Castillo said. "So this just adds one more thing for our community to have to be excited about and show our community pride, and we're glad we get to do that with the Champion City Kings."
The team will end its season at home with a "Fan Appreciation Night" on August 5.