DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Dragons organization says a big factor in their success over the past 20 years is the support they get from the surrounding area. For 20 years the Dragons have built relationships and a reputation for giving back.
Brandy Guinaugh, Vice President & Assistant GM says, “There are families that have been here since day one, so 2000. These folks are now grown up and have their own families that are bringing back to Fifth Third Field. So, you see this amazing cycle in this investment in this product that we have here in downtown Dayton.”
Building a sense of community has been a key focus of the Dayton Dragons organization since its inception.
Eric Deutsch, Executive Vice President, says the owners “might have a paperwork that says they are in the team, but really the community knows. And we want to be very positive and active and involved in the community. It’s a key cornerstone and component that our owners believe in and we take that to heart.”
The Dragons have responded to a variety of needs in the community and have tailored their programs to meet those needs. Among them: charity walks and scout overnighters.
Brandy Guinaugh says, “Boy scouts and girl scouts can both come out at Fifth Third Field, have a great time at the Dragons game, and then they stick around on the field and get to camp on Fifth Third Field. Literally in the outfield, it’s a big old sleepover.”
Additionally, community all-stars are recognized for their contributions to the Miami Valley.
Home Run for Life recognizes 5 children each year who are facing significant medical issues in their lives, and the MVP program helps teachers motivate and reward their students.
Eric Deutsch says, “I think they’re very glad that someone is reaching out to provide them assets and resources to make the things they do even better. From the school program that provides teachers with tools to reward and motivate their students to do well in the classroom, and those are complementary because we have sponsors underwriting the program.”
And when it comes to financial contributions, the Dragons let the community tell them what’s needed.
Guinaugh says, “There are so many great things that we like to get involved with, and it’s really dictated by what’s needed in the community. So depending on what the meet might be, we’d like to be there and provide something to assist those folks.”
The concession stand program, for example, helps non-profit organizations. Guinaugh says, “They sign up and go through customer service training of course to make sure everything is up to Dragon standards. And then they work Dragons games. So they work concession stands inside Fifth Third Field and they get a percentage of the revenue from that particular night.”
But the benefits of the overall community partnership are not limited to programs inside the stadium. The Dragons’ success has been a key catalyst in developing the downtown area as several construction projects are underway.
Deutsch says, “The people who plan baseball be a catalyst to increase downtown development back my day has seen it come to life. Working with the downtown Dayton partnership, they helped us identify about $1.5 billion of projects that I’ve started since 2010 in our downtown area.”
Jeff Hoagland is the President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. He says success breeds success. “People want to be where a success victories are taking place. The Dayton Dragons have been sold out for going on 20 years now. The Dayton region as seen economic prosperity we’ve never seen before. We’re seeing that happen more and more because people are now finally starting to take a peek at the special assets that the Dayton region has.”
Development in Dayton has steadily increased in the 2 decades since Fifth Third Field was built, but Hoagland says it’s picked up noticeably in the past few years. “What we’ve seen in the last 5 to 7 years has been tremendous. We’re seeing apartments go up, we’re seeing microbreweries and beer houses pop up all over the place. So we’re seeing this excitement in this energy around economic development.”
As the Dragons focus on another successful season, they’re also looking to the future, anticipating more ways to help a community that’s helped them so much. Brandy Guinaugh says, “We try to never have to say no, we always try to say yes to being able to help people with those types of causes.”