You've probably never heard of the Rockland Boulders. So, why has one of the heavyweights of the automobile industry bought prime real estate on their scoreboard?
Because they're champions.
Mercedes Benz renewed its corporate sponsorship with the Canadian American League baseball team after the Boulders brought home the league championship last season.
Nestled in Pomona, New York — just an hour's drive from the big apple — Provident Bank Park is home to an unlikely success story. Revamped in 2005, the Canadian American Independent League was once comprised of eight teams — seven American and one Canadian. By 2014, the league had shrunk to four American teams, but had gained two more Canadian teams.
The Canadian American League curse seemed to be a combination of poor investment strategies and frequent ownership changes. The Worcester Tornadoes' franchise was revoked in 2012 due to unpaid debts, the Pittsfield Colonials were unable to lure investors and its charter was rescinded, and the Newark Bears closed and liquidated all of the assets in its $30 million stadium—just three seasons after joining the Can-Am League.
For many independent teams, external expenses—including insurance payments, salaries, and travel expenses—can often outweigh incoming revenue. In the last five years, the Boulders have reported a 400 percent increase in worker's compensation costs, with both players and office staff grouped into high risk coverage.
"There are teams in the Can-Am league that are at $300,000 in workers comp." Ken Lehner, president of the Rockland Boulders, said. "That's a big number for what is considered a mom and pop type of minor league operation."
In fact, the Boulders' $500,000 budget for marketing costs is equivalent to the minimum required salary of one Major League player. That allocation pays for cable, radio and print advertising, as well as social media.
However, the fragmented state borders between New York and New Jersey pose a particular issue for the organization, forcing them to purchase coverage on three separate cable networks and with three different local newspapers.