October 25, 2018

Assumption College named exclusive higher ed sponsor for WooSox

Photo | Courtesy
PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino, PawSox President Charles Steinberg and Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo.
Image/Courtesy
A rendering of a new stadium for the soon-to-be Worcester Red Sox and a related mixed-use development. The total $240 million project is expected to open starting in 2021.

Assumption College will be the exclusive higher education sponsor of the future Worcester Red Sox, the Worcester college and ballclub jointly announced Thursday.

The college said it is one of 21 founding partners of the team, which plans to move from its longtime home of Pawtucket to Worcester for the start of the 2021 season. Assumption is the second organization to publicly announce a partnership with the team, along with Worcester health insurer Fallon.

The move includes a $101-million ballpark inside an overall $240-million redevelopment of the Canal District.

According to Assumption President Francesco Cesareo, the partnership includes guaranteed access to internships for Assumption students in programs ranging from business studies, data analytics, human services, rehabilitation studies and communications.

"Through this partnership -- one that has the potential to become a model for the hundreds of minor league baseball teams to emulate – Assumption College will have a very tangible and highly visible presence in downtown to create innovative community learning programming in conjunction with the Worcester Red Sox, Assumption and the City of Worcester as we enhance our commitment to participate in the redevelopment and revitalization of Worcester," Cesareo said in prepared remarks given to WBJ.

Also eyed as part of the partnership are after-school programs geared toward STEM courses, but also English as a Second Language courses for Worcester residents and Latino-speaking ballplayers to prepare them for an eventual call up to the Boston Red Sox.

Polar Park will be a classroom for Assumption students, Cesareo said, extending the college's footprint from its northwest Worcester campus to the Canal District.

The private liberal arts college president hinted at the possibility of Assumption athletics teams playing in the park, including the school's Division II baseball team and the possibility of a Winter Classic hockey game.

"This endeavor is more than a sponsorship," Cesareo said. "This is an educational partnership – perhaps the only one of its kind to exist in minor league baseball. It is through partnerships such as this that future leaders are provided opportunities to be formed with relevant, hands-on experience and for local businesses to tap the talents and skills of our students."

Along with Assumption, only Fallon Health has publicly announced a sponsorship agreement with the team. The stadium will tentatively be named Polar Park after Worcester manufacturer Polar Beverages, although the two sides have yet to publicly announce a deal.

According to emails between the team and Worcester officials obtained by WBJ, 16 companies engaged in some degree of sponsorship talks with the team, including Hanover Insurance Group, UMass Memorial Health Care, the Telegram & Gazette and UniBank.

No local colleges or universities, including Assumption, were listed in those emails.

According to the terms of a deal announced by the city and team in August, construction on the stadium must begin in July 2019 so the team can begin play in 2021.

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