Snappers fans believe new owner “destroying brand” with name change
Operating Manager Studer not budging on new nickname
BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - In order to cover the upkeep costs of maintaining Beloit’s new baseball stadium over the next 20 years, Snappers Managing Operator Quint Studer will change the team’s name.
Some fans do not see that as rational decision.
“I just think he’s wrong and he’s destroying a really good brand,” said Ben Witkins.
Witkins is not happy about the Snappers changing their name.
The lifelong Beloit baseball fan and a growing petition of more than 2,300 believe the Cheeseballs, Moo, Polka Pike, Sky Carp, and Supper Clubbers are simply a joke.
“It’s just so sad to me that we have this new stadium, the fans are so excited, the community is so excited, but it’s just this epic buzzkill we have to deal with with this new corny name that the entire city is embarrassed by,” Witkins said.
The man drawing this amount of ire from snappers fans is Studer. An Illinois native and former Janesville teacher, Studer is coming in to run the team.
He believes there should be a little more gratitude on their end.
“Anybody can sign a petition and if they want to take over and put 12 to 17 million dollars into this team, they can certainly name it,” said Studer.
But Studer is not upset. He hopes that enthusiasm continues and helps boost dwindling attendance numbers, which have dropped by more than 20 percent over the last 15 years.
In 2019, the Snappers had just 14 full season ticket holders and ranked second to last in the Midwest League in attendance.
“I think this has certainly been a wake-up," Studer said. "They’re so fortunate because if it wasn’t for Diane Hendricks building a stadium, they’d keep the Snapper name, but there would be no team.”
Studer, who is also the owner of Pensacola’s Double-A club, says without a new stadium, Beloit would be in the running to lose its MLB affiliation.
Witkins says he understands Studer’s position, but the name means so much to his community.
“We’re appreciative of the team staying here, we’re appreciative of his efforts, but the name is a big deal for a lot of people," said Witkins. "Alienating fans is not a good idea and I hope Quint hears that.”
However, Studer has made up his mind.
“The team’s moving on and the Snappers are there on Sundays and it’s just not going to make a difference,” said Studer.
Studer says the club will celebrate Snappers history every Sunday by wearing jerseys.
While Witkins says Beloit unanimously hates the name change, Studer says they conducted a survey where 70 percent of the community supported it.
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