NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees are under new ownership.
Anthony Iacovone, founder and CEO of mobile advertising technology company AdTheorant, acquired a majority interest in the Atlantic League franchise Monday afternoon. He purchased the majority stake from Frank Boulton and partner Michael Pfaff, who will remain in ownership and management capacities.
Iacovone played the sport growing up and called it a dream to own a professional baseball franchise. As for why he chose the Bees, he was enamored with the city and believed it would be the right fit for him.
“The story of New Britain really intrigued me,” Iacovone said. “They almost lost baseball there with the minor league team going to play elsewhere, but I think the legacy of New Britain is a great one and I think it is a very strong-knit baseball community.”
Iacovone hasn’t had a chance to meet with many of the people involved with the team just yet, but said he is excited to work with manager Stan Cliburn and general manager Gerry Berthiaume.
“From talking to a few of the folks over there briefly it seems like we are going to have a strong team,” Iacovone said. “Stan has a legacy of coaching in New Britain and has had a lot of success, and the same goes for Gerry, he has been around for a long time, so it’s a good situation.”
Being that Iacovone’s background is in technology he naturally plans to incorporate that into his new ownership role.
“Just like mobile advertising, the way baseball clubs engage with their fans is ripe for innovation,” Iacovone said. “Baseball is a game that is rich in tradition, which is why it’s America’s favorite pastime. Blending the right elements of technology and tradition will enhance the fan experience, increase team and player engagement and, most of all, provide even more fun for the spectators.”
Fan experience is something Iacovone wants to focus on. Not only does he want it to be fun and affordable for families but he wants people to come away from games with memories.
“The baseball is obviously important, but even more so than that is creating a family environment,” Iacovone said. “The idea is to use technology to create some great fan interaction. We are planning to make some changes in the ballpark to create a more viewer friendly atmosphere and make this ballpark a destination.”
Outside of the stadium, Iacovone hopes to also bring the Bees together with the New Britain community. He believes the two can have a great, co-existing relationship, and hopes to be at the forefront of making that even stronger than it currently is.
“It’s an interesting dynamic in New Britain that we want to continue,” Iacovone said. “We feel like the people of New Britain really love baseball and we want to give them a place to enjoy themselves and watch good baseball. We also want to tie together the community with our baseball team, whether that’s by helping out with the local Boys & Girls clubs or whatever that may be. We want to have our presence felt.”
Iacovone is looking forward to getting things started, with Opening Day just a couple of days away.
“I just think New Britain was a perfect fit for me,” said Iacovone, whose businesses are headquartered in New York City. “I plan to bring my knowledge of technology and digital media into the team to help create a great fan experience that local families can come and enjoy without spending too much money.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @bigwoolf5