By Erin McAuliffe
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The South Bend Cubs were known as the South Bend Silver Hawks until 2014, and the rebranding efforts to align the team with the Chicago Cubs, its major league affiliate, have apparently paid off, according to an analysis of the team’s attendance data.
Beyond the parent club’s World Series victory, South Bend owner Andrew Berlin, who bought the team in 2011, has spent $8 million since 2011 to renovate Four Winds Field. He upgraded seating and added a new team store, along with family-friendly stadium additions like a playground, waterpark and Kid’s Fun Zone.
The efforts have paid off — stadium attendance has more than tripled since 2011. The ticket sales in 2015, seen in the chart, set franchise records for the best single-season attendance. Also, a record amount of Indiana state sales tax was collected via the concessions and merchandise sold in the stadium in 2015, money that was retained to benefit the City of South Bend. The team was even named Ballpark Digest’s Team of the Year in 2015.
Team President Joe Hart, who joined the Cubs in 2012, spoke about the award with the Ballpark Digest: “South Bend is a great baseball community and the last four years have been very rewarding as we have worked hard to rebuild the franchise. We have a great owner that has a passion for baseball and deep commitment to [the] City of South Bend and the region. This would not be possible without an experienced front office staff that believes in customer service and providing a first-class experience for our fans each and every night.”