The Newark Bears are holding a going out of business sale. We are sad to hear that the Bears professional baseball franchise is selling everything from the team’s uniform and equipment to landscaping supplies and office furniture, the organization announced today. Even the 56-passenger team bus is up for grabs. The Bears games in my opinion was one of Newark’s, great entertainment values. To be able to watch a games and enjoy a beer for under $10 dollars on a warm spring or summer evening, that to me was a great value.
The Bears, with a myriad of ownership groups and affiliations over the years, brought great promise to a city with a long baseball tradition, and helped re-energize and relaunch the careers of a host of former MLB players, along with giving work experience to scores of young people entering the growing sports business field from sales to marketing to game operations throughout their history. They were seen by some as a unique mix in a triangle of sports and entertainment possibilities in Brick City, with the Prudential Center off to the right of Bears and Eagles Stadium and Red Bull Arena across the Passaic River in the distance. The Bears team has struggled at the gate for years, though, and nearly went out of business more than once over the years. The demise of the Bears appears to once again call in to question how much is enough in minor league baseball in a major market.
The team’s stadium opened in 1999 with great fanfare and marked the return of professional baseball to Newark after a five decade absence. But after a packed opening night, attendance at the stadium never took off. Some thought, to the revitalized New Jersey Performing Arts Center right down the street, helping bring families and fans back to merchants who had long struggled for business.The team never built a relationship with the Newark community and lovers of baseball in Essex county. The team lack links to the little league community, in Newark and near by towns, to build the future fan-base. All of those plans, along with a stadium in need of repairs, appear to be gone for the summer now, along with some jobs and opportunities for young people looking to carve their own niche in sport.
In November, the Can-Am League announced the Bears wouldn’t be returning. While co-owner Danielle Dronet said at the time she was “pretty positive” the team would take the field in some capacity, league’s commissioner Miles Wolff said he was told by the team’s owners that they would not field a team. Honestly, I thought, this could be positive, The Can-Am League only had five teams, New Jersey Jackals, Quebec Capitales, Rockland Boulders, and Trois-RivieresAigles. The league lacks fans in large numbers and is publicity starved as well as media-challenged since there are no TV and radio contracts with stations that have limited signals although those broadcasts are available on the Internet. It became boring just to watch the same teams play game over game. Now it is not the first time that the Bears have been left for dead. Debt-ridden former ownership groups have looked to pull the plug before, only to have a savior with great intentions come along to re-start the club again. However this time without any ties in either the Minor League Baseball affiliated system or with any of the struggling independent leagues (The four team Can-Am league has merged with the Midwestern American Association to keep all their clubs still functioning) the outlook for baseball in Newark appears to be bleak once again.
The team’s 6,200 seat Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium was funded by bonds at a cost of more than $30 million. Essex County and Newark each must pay $1.1 million annually until 2029 to cover the debt service on the stadium, according to a previous Star-Ledger report. Newark and Essex County financed the construction of the $30 million Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium with the sale of bonds. Later, remaining bond funds were used to build a parking deck that is leased out to surrounding businesses during the day. The city and the county now share a more than $1 million annual debt payment. DiVincenzo said, he was looking to possibly help arrange a sale of the team and that at worst, local colleges and high schools could use the stadium for games.
What is to happen with the structure? Will the grounds be maintained? How will it closure impact development near the Broad street Station, prime real estate in the northern section of Downtown? I will truly miss the fireworks every time they won a game. It became a tradition that was truly a special experience. There are other unanswered questions, we will keep you posted.
The league commissioner Miles Wolff proved right.
The liquidation sale and auction at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium begins at 10 a.m. on April 26. All sales are final and purchasers are responsible for removing any items they buy, a release says.
The team released a full list of items they plan to offer:
• Newark Bears Professional Baseball Team naming rights, concessions business naming rights, dance team naming rights directly affiliated; logo, website and social media accounts (Auctioned)
• 2006 MCI J4500 56 passenger bus (auctioned)
• John Deere lawn And turf equipment package (Auctioned)
• Commercial kitchen/restaurant and bar equipment and supplies (liquidated)
• Other professional landscaping and turf equipment, supplies and products (liquidated)
• Building maintenance and housekeeping / cleaning equipment, Supplies And Products (liquidated)
• Office furniture (liquidated)
• Office electronics (liquidated)
• Retail displays and racks (liquidated)
• Newark Bears uniforms, merchandise, memorabilia (liquidated and auctioned)
• Professional baseball equipment, supplies and products (liquidated and auctioned)
• Professional ticketing systems (liquidated)
• Medical/training Supplies (liquidated)
• Bedroom furniture (liquidated)
• Living room furniture (liquidated)
• Dining room furniture (liquidated)
• Vehicles (auctioned)