The West Coast League’s Victoria HarbourCats and the Wilson’s Group of Companies recently announced, effective immediately, a five-year baseball branding agreement that renames the HarbourCats home – Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
The branding agreement applies to all baseball related events including HarbourCats home games, the 2018 Baseball Canada Men’s Championship, and other baseball tournaments and events hosted at the historic facility. It will also allow the HarbourCats staff to take the overall fan and game experience to a new level, allowing for significant recent and pending upgrades to the facility – including new signage and corporate branding and new group seating options for the 2018 season, the sixth year of HarbourCats baseball in the WCL.
The Wilson’s Group of Companies has been serving Vancouver Island since 1962, founded on Salt Spring Island by W.D. Kello Wilson and Mary Wilson. The company is all about family. John and Val Wilson’s children Andrew Wilson (wife Brittany, former HarbourCats Assistant GM) and Samantha Wilson (partner Taylor Newton), along with nephew Travis Wilson (wife Meaghan, HarbourCats volunteer), comprise much of the company’s leadership.
The Wilson’s Group of Companies includes many well-known, island-born products including Wilson’s Transportation, YYJ Airport Shuttle, B.C. Ferries Connector, Gray Line’s Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing tours with its open-top double-decker buses, the Mount Washington Ski Bus, Capital City Station, and the joint-venture Pacific Northwest Cruise Services shuttle for to the burgeoning cruise ship industry.
“Wilson’s has been a part of the HarbourCats family since Day One, providing outstanding bus service and supporting this team in so many ways since 2012, prior to the first pitch in 2013,” said Jim Swanson, Managing Partner of the HarbourCats. “I can tell you that without the support of the family-run Wilson’s Group, the HarbourCats would be a much different operation – the important role Wilson’s played in this team’s history is greatly appreciated by us all, including John’s involvement with the ownership group since 2015.”
The Wilson’s Group branding will feature new signature signage above the left field fence, and other Wilson’s Group logo placement at the park during baseball events. As well, a special new group section celebrating the Grayline and Hop-On/Hop-Off service that is historic to Victoria, highlighting fan experience upgrades that will be introduced for the 2018 season – HarbourCats, and the Baseball Canada Men’s Championship.
The HarbourCats and the City of Victoria have been working hand-in-hand to enhance the fan experience at Royal Athletic Park, highlighting the strong relationship between City and the team’s front office and ownership.
A WIlson’s Group Gray Line Tours double decker bus will be the highlight feature in a new corporate VIP seating and party area along the first base line – the Upper Deck Experience.
The HarbourCats have become an important community gathering point for the South Island in summertime, and we really enjoy being a part of that in so many ways,” said John Wilson, CEO of the Wilson’s Group – and also a part of the HarbourCats ownership team, with Rich Harder, Ken Swanson and Jim Swanson. “All of us at Wilson’s hear feedback about how much people enjoy going to games, seeing friends, and connecting with people, and the HarbourCats and Wilson’s share the same core values when it comes to celebrating this great place we live in. It’s a perfect fit to have Wilson’s Group on this baseball branding at Royal Athletic Park.”
Wilson’s Group will continue to sponsor the first fireworks game of the season, which is set for Saturday, June 2, and will also assist the HarbourCats in thanking a member of the armed forces with the ‘Military Recognition’ during an early-game inning break.
“We have added new seating sections, offered padded and served seating, and found ways each year to improve the experience for fans – that will take another step forward this year, with further investment by our team and ownership group,” said Jim Swanson.
Fans will be able to socialize and watch a game from the top of a Wilson’s Group Gray Line Tours double decker bus, part of the new Upper Deck Experience along the first base line.
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League (WCL) is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 14-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest showcases pro prospects from major conferences across the nation June through August. Out west, the league features an unparalleled history of memorable fan and player experiences and the best summer weather in North America. 83 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB 2017 June draft. 271 WCL alums appeared or were active in affiliated professional baseball in 2017 including 31 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore); record-breaking rookie slugger Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia); rising star pitchers James Paxton (Seattle) and Matt Boyd (Detroit); and outfielder Mitch Haniger (Seattle). Overall member attendance was 412,392 this past summer, an increase of 8.6% in total attendance.