March 18, 2019

Bravehearts owner eyes purchase of second team in N.H.

Photo | Ed Cote
Bravehearts General Manager David Peterson walks Fitton Field at the College of the Holy Cross, where the team plays its home games.

John Creedon Jr., the owner of the Worcester Bravehearts, is pursuing the purchase of the Nashua Silver Knights.

Collegiate baseball in Worcester, however, is here to stay, he said.

Both teams play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League and have been opponents since the Bravehearts inaugural season six years ago.

Final details are being hashed out and the deal is expected to close within the next few months, said Creedon, who declined to disclose financials.

According to Creedon, he and Bravehearts General Manager David Peterson visited the Madison Mallards – one of the most successful collegiate baseball teams in the country – in 2015.

That teams' owner spoke about owning three other teams in the Northwoods League. That conversation became a catalyst for exploring the ownership of other teams, Creedon said.

"From a business model perspective, growing into more than one franchise has always been in our heads since that trip," he said.

Creedon called the Silver Knights a fantastic franchise with an incredible ballpark equipped with a new video scoreboard installed by the City of Nashua, which owns the park.

The city is upgrading the park's luxury suites at Holman Stadium.

"There's a great baseball history and tradition in Nashua," Creedon said, highlighting the city's working relationship with the team.

The Silver Knights are currently owned by Drew Weber, the former owner of the Lowell Spinners, the Single-A farm team for the Boston Red Sox.

WooSox coming

As for the Bravehearts, which are already facing the possibility of declining ticket sales once the Pawtucket Red Sox move to Worcester in 2021, Creedon said his team is here to stay.

The Bravehearts rank sixth on Ballpark Digest's attendance rankings for collegiate summer baseball leagues.

"We're already pacing ahead of where we've been," Creedon said. "Bravehearts are poised for growth for a sixth year in a row."

Creedon rejected the idea the Nashua deal is a product of Worcester taking on the top farm team for one of the most storied franchises in sports.

Controlling a second team, he said, could help support the Bravehearts by sharing best practices and importing some ideas learned from New Hampshire.

As for what happens after 2021 when the Worcester Red Sox begin play, Creedon said the Bravehearts' lease with Holy Cross to play at Fitton Field extends well beyond 2021.

The top farm team of the Boston Red Sox is expected to command a large portion of the area's baseball fanbase.

While in Pawtucket, the team saw an average game attendance of 5,982 in 2018, which was considered a down year from the 6,406 average of 2017. The $101-million, 10,000-seat stadium being built in the Canal District should attract larger audiences.

It could also attract more corporate donors than the Bravehearts, as the WooSox are demanding $3.1 million in sponsorship dollars each year for the first five years of Triple-A baseball in Worcester.

In December, Peterson told WBJ the team is ramping up its programming with local schools, institutions and companies to maintain its status as the only collegiate league baseball in Worcester.

"We're in it for the long haul," Creedon said.


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