The stadium naming rights deal has been confirmed — but don’t ask Floyd County about it. For six weeks we’ve filed open case requests and had a steady stream of emails seeking what the new naming rights deal for the Rome House of Braves means for county ratepayers. by Floyd.
For example, the county earned $17,165 last year in naming rights fees when State Mutual Insurance was still a sponsor.
We finally learned the gist of the new deal: AdventHealth — parent company of the former Redmond and Gordon Regional Hospital — has a four-year deal on the name that pays $190,000 a year. It’s $760,000 in a deal between the Rome Braves and the health care company.
In the original and later amended contracts to bring the Braves here from Macon beginning in 2003, the county got a share of season ticket revenue, a growing payment from the team, and a slice of the naming rights pie. The Braves paid the county $25,000 as part of the team’s annual contribution. Total revenue for Braves County and naming rights: $42,165.
And while county officials were at the grip-and-grin renaming ceremony last month, they apparently had no idea how much revenue each year would come from naming rights alone. We searched for texts among county commissioners and administrators, and the bulk of those conversations were about the name change ceremony and that it was to be kept confidential until that evening. No dollar was mentioned or reference was made regarding what this meant for the county (and ratepayers).
For AdventHealth, this is a strategic marketing move. Over 78,000 tickets were sold to see 51 home games in 2021, or 1,540 tickets per game (the season was shorter than normal). Additionally, the stadium is on a major highway and a busy intersection that draws thousands of eyes every day. And the name AdventHealth Stadium appears in many stories, on websites, and in social media posts.
Also, the Braves got off to a good start. As of this morning, Rome are 19-14 and 1.5 games out of first place in the Southern Division of the High A South Atlantic League. Home stand attendance last week – six games against Winston-Salem Dash – was 12,231 or 2,039 per game. One “education day” match alone attracted 4,121 fans. The stadium was designed to hold 5,105 fans at full capacity.
The county, meanwhile, has since requested at least part of the contract dealing with the Braves/AdventHealth contract dealing with naming rights and the county cup.
The Rome Braves did not respond to notes seeking comment for this update.
POPCORN & POLITICS
This election, the court cases mostly come before the votes are counted (and counted and counted and…): twice in recent weeks, candidates appearing in the May 24 ballot have been the subject of a judicial review to determine if they were eligible to be on the hunt. But what we won’t know until next Tuesday night is the true impact.
First was Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th Amendment challenge, alleging her ties to the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising. The judge ruled there was not enough evidence to exclude her from the race in Congress. With five Republican challengers, Greene is expected to face a runoff in June.
Next is state Senate hopeful Jeff Lewis, hoping to make a political comeback in a three-way race for the GOP nomination for Georgia’s Senate District 52. With no Democrats to challenge them, the winner of the primary (run-off at one point) gets the seat. Holder Chuck Hufstetler led the challenge against one of Bartow’s two opponents and the judge recommended disqualification – a decision upheld by the Secretary of State.
Signs like the ones above can be found outside advance polling stations in the Senate District 52 area, including Floyd, Bartow and Gordon counties, advising voters that Lewis is disqualified – for the moment. With the election and ongoing legal challenges just days away, Lewis could indeed be reinstated to take on Hufstetler and Bartow County Schools President Derek Keeney.
The Senate race is expected to come down to Floyd versus Bartow, with better turnout on either side of the county line being the deciding factor. Gordon voters are a wild card. With Lewis on the ballot, a runoff was likely. Not now, however, and with no Democrats in the race in November, it’s the primary winner who takes all.
Early voting for Floyd already exceeds 2018 totals: In the May 2018 primary, 2,574 votes, Floyd County residents cast early ballots. We did not check 2020 as it was the year of absentees thanks to the pandemic. Numbers are not apples and oranges so to speak. By Sunday, Floyd had cast 2,755 ballots at the Elections Office and at the Anthony Center with five days to go. And that does not count more than 200 postal votes already registered.
Next: Even gas price watchers disagree in this divisive decade we find ourselves in.
GasBuddy.com reports that average gasoline prices in Georgia were unchanged over the past week, averaging $3.97 per gallon based on a survey of 5,883 stations. Prices are 27.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and $1.06 per gallon higher than a year ago.
And then there is AAA. Gas prices in Georgia are up at the pump compared to a week ago. Georgian motorists now pay an average price of $3.98 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. The state average on Monday is 15 cents higher than a week ago, 27 cents higher than last month and $1.01 higher than this time last year. It now costs motorists $59.70 to fill a 15 gallon tank of regular gasoline.
So which one is right? And then there are these explosions of less good news:
“The average price at the pump across the state of Georgia continues to climb,” said Montrae Waiters, spokesperson for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “Unfortunately, crude oil prices remain above $105 a barrel, driving gas prices higher this week.”
“Those who filled up their tanks last week saw another jolt at the pump, as petrol and diesel prices continued their weeks-long rally,” said Patrick De Haan, head of analytics. oil at GasBuddy. “…records continued to be set almost daily, with the national average edging even closer to $4.50 a gallon. Prices later this week could be closer to $5 a gallon than $4 as demand continues to rise and gasoline and diesel inventories continue to fall, temperatures warm and motorists head back out and we are approaching Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer driving season. Although the increases may start to slow in the coming days as prices at the pump catch up with the price of oil, there is not much reason to be optimistic about a fall soon.
The cheapest gas we found between Blue Ridge and Rome on Sunday at noon was $3.85 a gallon in a crowded Buc-ee in Calhoun. Love’s Outpost across the street: $3.99.
Kava with a Side of Amethyst Organic Rug: Traveling Gypsies & Kava Den is now open at 524 Broad St. and we don’t think there’s anything like it in Northwest Georgia. Some thought Olea Olive Oils & Wine was a little exotic — and even the honey cream ice cream. And then came WHydrate near the Chick-fil-A Container drive-thru off Riverside Parkway.
But that’s another level.
Some of the drinks sound interesting, but there’s more, from a ‘salt sauna’ session to relaxing during a 30-minute session on the ‘bio amethyst mat’.
Even the company’s “about” tagline is unique: “A Kava Den with a bohemian lifestyle atmosphere serving Kava and Elixirs with music and entertainment. We also have a home decor culture caravan, fashion, jewelry, gifts and holistic apothecary, salt sauna, organic amethyst mat and doterra.”
Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; until 11 p.m. on Friday; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
PEAKS & VALLEYS: The Highs and Lows of Northwest Georgia
Peak to the Berry Softball team: With conference and regional victories already in hand, the Vikings will host the next round of the NCAA playoffs this Friday (and Saturday if Game 3 is needed). This is the first time the team has moved on to the “regional super tour” since 2018. Best of all, this next round is taking place at Kay Williams Field on campus – just as Alumni Weekend begins followed by a week of work.
Valley at donut landmark closing: Donut Castle, 657 Red Bud Road in Calhoun plans to close after nearly 60 years. The last donuts will be sold on May 28. They announce the sale of the business for $40,000. Not for sale are memories of decades of pastries, cakes, cupcakes and other treats for special occasions. Those who wish to take a sentimental trip can do so from Tuesday to Saturday, from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Valley flu season about to end: By the end of the week, final numbers should be in for the 2021-22 flu season in Georgia. Up to May 7, there had been 25 deaths and 406 hospitalizations, with 18 outbreaks. That compares to the 2020-21 season, in the middle of the pandemic, when just three lives were lost and 38 people hospitalized.
According to the figures, the 25 deaths are an improvement on…
2019-20: 94 deaths, 2,520 hospitalizations.
2018-19: 44 deaths, 1,582 hospitalizations.
2017-18: 151 deaths, 3,139 hospitalizations.
But look at the reports from the previous two years:
2016-17: 9 deaths, 1,484 hospitalizations.
2015-16: 7 deaths, 582 hospitalizations.
We can do better by learning some of the first steps we took during the pandemic. It starts with the annual flu shot.