Monday is the last official day for Snow Days. This was the second year that Progressive Field was transformed into a winter wonderland that included ice skating and snow tubing, as well as several hockey games. The whole point of Snow Days was to earn extra income for the team; rather than sitting idle during the winter, the Indians could continue to pull in money from a snow-covered Progressive Field.
Unfortunately for the Indians, Snow Days was a financial loss for the second year in a row. It was always expected to take a loss in its first year; I imagine this is because they had to purchase all of the materials to put the event together. Once they already owned all of the equipment, they could expect to turn a profit in subsequent years. The rainy weather was blamed for this year’s poor attendance. Even today’s Frozen Diamond Faceoff hockey match-up between Ohio State and University of Michigan did not meet attendance expectations – organizers hoped for 30,000, but attendance was 25,864 as Michigan defeated Ohio State 4-1.
When I first heard about Snow Days last year, I thought it was kind of a ridiculous idea. I made cracks about having bake sales and other various fundraisers in order to raise money for the team. Then I went to it and actually had a pretty good time; I figured if it helped, then more power to them. I went back again this year, but we almost had Progressive Field to ourselves. I went a bit earlier in December than I did last year, but it still seemed like absurdly low attendance for a nice day on a weekend. (A side note: I didn’t realize how out of shape I was until I did a few laps around the field on the ice skating rink. I was sweating like Fausto Carmona by the time I was finished).
It sounds like the Indians will evaluate Snow Days moving forward – they may consider limiting the events, or perhaps having it every other year. While I’m sure the weather may have been a factor overall, the day that I went this year was sunshine and temps in the high 30s…yet there were still probably more Snow Days employees than attendees. Cost may have been a factor for some people. It’s $27.50 for a tubing/skating combo, $22 for tubing only, $11 for skating only, and $5.50 for admission with no activities. The ice skating alone is pretty reasonable, especially considering that it comes with free skate rental. However, if you had a family of 4 and wanted to do the tubing/skating combo, you’re suddenly forking over $110.
Snow Days may return next year, but there probably will be a number of changes if it does. When you’re a penny-pinching team, you can’t afford for your off-season money making venture to take a loss for a third straight year.