HarbourCats and Island Sports News Announce Media Partnership

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April 22, 2014. Victoria, BC (ISN) – Jim Swanson, General Manager, Victoria HarbourCats and Scott Harrigan, Owner, Island Sports News (ISN), are pleased to announce that the HarbourCats and ISN have entered into a media partnership for the 2014 season.

Under the terms of the partnership, Island Sports News will be providing enhanced media and communication services to the HarbourCats, including the provision of game action and other related imagery for use on the HarbourCats web site and promotional materials.

ISN will also provide game summary and other feature reporting on players, coaches, and events throughout the season that will be featured on the ISN site, but also used by the HarbourCats for the news section of their website to parallel and compliment other media coverage of the team that they share in that manner.

In return , Island Sports News will become the “official photographer” of the team for 2014 and retain the exclusive rights to re-sell photographic images to fans, players, and parents via the ISN web site and the web sites of ISN photographers, as well as through selling of souvenir images at home games at the merchandise stands. ISN will also have the rights to licence any related imagery to other West Coast League (WCL) teams or other associations, should they require it for use in their communication efforts.

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Alex DeGoti will be returning to the HarbourCats in 2014 and will no doubt be in front of the ISN cameras on a regular basis (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

ISN will also receive marketing and exposure on the HarbourCats web site and in their program and promotional materials and will be the “official game sponsor” for a number of games throughout the 2014 season, including the Fisherworks Irrigation Services Kelly Norris-Jones Bobble head night on June 17th.

ISN has become one of the top on-line sports media sites in the country and has grown rapidly from their inception six years ago to a site that now receives thousands of hits and visits daily from across the country and other parts of the world, a fact not lost upon the HarbourCats GM Swanson. “We have taken a very inclusive approach to working with so many sectors of the Victoria economy and the media is one of them. We are excited to include ISN as one of our media partners, as their numbers in terms of visitor and hits to their site are very strong, plus they have some other aspects, most notably their amazing photography, truly a hallmark of their site, that we are really thrilled to be able work with and to incorporate into our communication activities this season.”

ISN Owner Harrigan is also pleased with the partnership, “With the world in general shifting strongly to on-line media for their daily news and information, we are pleased that the HarbourCats have selected ISN as a key on-line media partner for the coming season. Our stories and photos are read and viewed by thousands of readers in the region and across the country each day and we hope that the detailed coverage we can provide of the HarbourCats will boost not only their exposure, but also that of other teams in the WCL.”

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ISN photographers Christian J. Stewart and Erich Eichhorn will be on hand in 2014 to capture all the action at second base during the HarbourCats second season in the West Coast League (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

As part of their coverage of the HarbourCats this year, ISN will also be launching a number of new initiatives including setting up a dedicated HarbourCats page on the ISN site, having a Junior Reporter/Photographer of the game for select games and setting up a video page that will feature GoPro video from cameras mounted on a catcher’s or umpire’s mask.

“We are excited to be working together with the HarbourCats to produce quality content for both the ISN and HarbourCats web sites,” added Harrigan. “All of our photographers and writers, notably Christian J. Stewart and Erich Eichhorn, are well known and respected for their work in the region, and the professional level of their images. They are excited to be on board and we all can’t wait for the first pitch!”

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ISN’s Erich Eichhorn got up close and personal with HarbourCats pitcher Logan Lombana in 2013 and will look for that opportunity again in 2014 as Lombana is another player who will return for the HarbourCats second season (Photo: Erich Eichhorn / Island Sports News)

In other HarbourCats news, fans attending the park this season will be pleased to note that the main seating sections now all have seatbacks, which will provide a huge improvement in comfort level than the old benches did. The shiny blue plastic seats were unveiled at the HarbourCats Open House on Saturday April 12th and were met with approval by fans who came to test them out. The seats are spaced out a bit further than the numbered bench seats were resulting in a loss of about 7% of the seating in those main areas, but the comfort trade-off will be well worth it for the fans.

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HarbourCats General Manager Jim Swanson (left) and mascot Harvey the HarbourCat enjoy the new seats installed at Royal Athletic Park during the HarbourCats Open House on April 12th. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

And to put bums in those new seats, the HarbourCats will be offering a simplified ticket structure for the 2014 season with just two price levels. Premium Seats will include the Grandstand and all lower level seats in Sections 8-12 (all infield sections), while General Admission will include all the upper level aluminum bleacher seats (no seatbacks), as well as Sections 6-7 down the first baseline that DO include seatbacks. Pricing for Premium Seats will be $325 for season tickets, or $14.50 per game. General Admission pricing is $225 for season tickets or $9.50 per game. Ten game flex packs are also available in both categories.

The HarbourCats have also announced a promotion with 7-11 Convenience Stores whereby fans can purchase tickets at participating 7-11 stores for just $7.11 and then sit in the “7-11 Silver Section”, which will be located in the bleacher seats down the right field line.

Single seat sales in all sections began Saturday, April 19th.

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The HarbourCats announced some coaching changes for 2014 with 2013 Co-Manager Dennis Rogers (left) announcing that he will not return to the team, while Victoria native and former Victoria Seal Charlie Strandlund (right) will join the team as an assistant coach.  Bob Miller will return to Manage the team in 2014 (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The team has also made some visible and not-so visible changes to enhance the game experience for both the fans and the players. Once such change is that the home team will now be back in the first base dugout. This has the benefit of putting the HarbourCats players in closer proximity to a larger number of fans, as well as putting the players closer the clubhouse in the event they need to make any mid-game visits.

The bullpens will also be rearranged this season, moving away from having both down the third baseline, to the more traditional set-up of having a single bull pen down each foul line.

Speaking of the clubhouse, the HarbourCats also made some changes last season to spruce up the clubhouse, installing individual lockers for each player that are customized out of light oak, giving a very professional look and providing a nice amenity for the players.

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2014 HarbourCats players will enjoy the amenities of a nicely renovated clubhouse under the RAP grandstand (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

On the promotions side, the team has recently announced their full promotional schedule, but one signature promotion with another media partner, CHEK-TV, is sure please. Every home game, lucky fans will be leaving Sports Traders Diamond in a LA Limousine, headed somewhere. It could be dinner for two, a hotel stay, or other local ‘staycation’ destinations. All those nightly winners will all be in a draw for the final game, August 10, when one of them will win a trip to Seattle on a Clipper ferry, including two nights of hotel, and tickets to see the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays play on Monday, August 11.

“All the previous winners will have to be packed, have their passports ready, and have warned the boss they won’t be at work on Monday,” said Swanson. “Make plans for pets, the kids – those previous winners will know in advance they have outstanding odds to end up on that trip.”

The HarbourCats 54-game regular season starts June 6 and runs through August 10, with playoffs to follow. The home-opener for the HarbourCats in 2014 is Tuesday, June 10, against the Cowlitz Black Bears, at SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park. The HarbourCats will play exhibition games on June 5 (vs. BCPBL Victoria Eagles/Mariners) and June 22 (in Duncan, vs. PIL Langley Blaze).

About Island Sports News
Island Sports News is Canada’s leading on-line source of amateur and community level sports news and information. We report daily on a range of sporting activities such as hockey, baseball, rugby, football, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball to name a few, as well as provide updates on University, College and High School level sports in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Learn more at www.islandsportsnews.net 

About the West Coast League and Victoria HarbourCats
The West Coast League features a competitive level of play and recruits players from high-calibre baseball programs at colleges and universities across North America. With the addition of the Yakima Valley Pippins, the WCL has 12 teams in three divisions for the 2014 season, with franchises located in B.C., Washington and Oregon. The Victoria HarbourCats are in the West Division with the Bellingham Bells, Kitsap BlueJackets of Bremerton, Wash., and Cowlitz Black Bears of Kelso/Longview, Wash. The 54-game regular season starts June 6 and runs through August 10, with playoffs to follow. The home-opener for the HarbourCats in 2014 is Tuesday, June 10, against the Cowlitz Black Bears, at SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park. The HarbourCats will play exhibition games on June 5 (vs. BCPBL Victoria Eagles/Mariners) and June 22 (in Duncan, vs. PIL Langley Blaze).

 

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