Ever been to a sporting event where someone brought their dog or at a game where a pro sports team honored a little league team for their outstanding season?
You can thank Lake County Captains Director of Special Projects, Bill Levy for that.
While working for his hometown Wilmington Blue Rocks Levy might have been the first person to come up with and execute the idea of what is now commonly referred to as “Bark in the Park night” by bringing your pooch to a ball game.
The native of Wilmington, Delaware started with the Blue Rocks but has been all over the country, serving in various roles on front office staffs starting with his hometown Blue Rocks.
Levy was also part of a trend that has exploded over the last 15 years, colleges offering a degree in Sport Management. The amount of students who are majoring in this field has exploded over the last several years.
After earning his Sport Management degree from Robert Morris University, it has put Levy in several different roles in baseball and in other sports all over different parts of the country, which he says in one of the best parts of the job, being able to see the country and get paid for it.
Now in his second stint with the Lake County Captains, Levy’s main task is to “get fans to the ballpark that wouldn’t normally be there”
While Director of Special Projects operates a little differently than the promotions side of it, Levy still has to be creative with ways to reach out and work with community to get them to the ballpark with their groups.
Getting fans through the gate is the main goal in any sporting event and in minor league baseball it’s even more important because every city has their die hard baseball fans that are coming to the game, regardless if there is a firework show after the game or not. The fans that Levy reaches out to are the people like local CYO groups, which Levy organized for the Captains earlier this year.
The Cleveland-Akron CYO night also happened to coincide with the coach’s hall of fame induction of Lake Catholic’s baseball coach, Dennis Woods. Woods was able to come over before his induction and speak with the kids about faith and sports, a perfect fit.
Last week Levy also set up the Eastlake firefighters vs. police department softball game at Classic Park on a Sunday before a night game.
Those are just a few of the creative ideas Bill has come up with in his second stint in Lake County. When the Captains were members of the South Atlantic League, Levy was a part of two awards; the 2003 “Club Merit Award” and a personal award in 2004 of “Sales Executive of the Year”
Levy also helped revive baseball in Macon, Georgia with the expansion Macon Music of South Coast League in 2007, a city that hadn’t seen baseball since they lost their South Atlantic League in 2002 and another Independent team in 2003.
Levy hasn’t just garnered awards for his efforts in baseball. Before coming back to Eastlake in 2011, he spent two seasons with the Jackalopes in Odessa, Texas, a hockey team operating in the Independent, Central Hockey League. The Jacks wound up being awarded with the “Community Relations Franchise of the Year” in the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons with Levy at the helm of the operations. In January 2009 he was also the employee of the month with the Jackolopes. His stint with the Jacks started off extremely successful, with the team winning the Western Professional Hockey League’s “Franchise of the Year” Levy’s first two seasons with the team.
With all of the connections he has made in various roles with different organization’s Levy has made a strong connection with the Captains owners, Peter and Rita Carfagna. Levy has worked for the family in two separate locations. The family owns a minor league team in Lancaster, Ca, the Jet Hawks. He also left the Captains in 2005 and came back when he thought he wanted to get out of baseball all together and Peter Carfagna told him he had something for him with the Captains again.
Minor League seasons usually have around 50-70 home games a year and most franchise’s depend on a family atmosphere filled with fun promotions and heavy involvement with the community. Having someone as good as Levy spearheading the role of making that goal a successful one makes Levy an unheralded MVP of the front office, by creating unlikely fans from around the area.