COLUMBIA, S.C. - Hardball Capital and the City of Columbia today announced that Columbia's new Minor League Baseball team will be the Columbia Fireflies. The New York Mets affiliate will play in Spirit Communications Park in downtown Columbia starting in April, 2016.
Fireflies' principal owner Jason Freier and President John Katz, accompanied by Mayor Steve Benjamin and Spirit Communications CEO Robert Keane, announced the name at the Boys & Girls Clubs of The Midlands' Norman Arnold Campus this morning with the help of over eighty Boys & Girls Club members.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Columbia Fireflies to support wholesome affordable entertainment that families can do together," said Carter Clark, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands.
The name "Fireflies" was chosen from over 2,300 entries in the "name the team contest" conducted in late 2014. The team introduced its primary wordmark, primary and secondary cap logos, tertiary logo and uniform wordmarks at today's event. The logos were designed by Sky Design of Atlanta, the same firm with whom Hardball Capital worked on its award-winning re-branding of the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
The inspiration for the "Fireflies" name comes from a particular species of Firefly-the Photuris frontalis-and the amazing behavior of that firefly in the nearby floodplain forest in Congaree National Park. Each spring, as baseball season begins, the Photuris frontalis perform a wonderful and mysterious light show. For a few weeks, thousands of these fireflies synchronize their flashing each night; they light as one, in unison. The mass synchronization that occurs on the banks of the Congaree is one of only a few places on Earth where such a spectacle is known to take place.
This theme of synchronization, unity and working together is also a tribute to the City of Columbia and its people. Columbia is a city that has come together to address major issues. South Carolina's Capital City can be counted among the few significant Southern cities that made it through integration in the 1960s without the kind of violence experienced in places like Birmingham and Selma. This relatively peaceful integration process was largely the result of the City "coming together" in the form of the Columbia Community Relations Council, organized by then-Mayor Lester Bates. That spirit of cooperation continues in Columbia today in many forms, including education, arts and cultural events. As the capital of South Carolina, Columbia is also the place where all of the state comes together.
"Columbia is more than just a city;" said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. "It's an idea. It's an idea based on the simple principle that echoes throughout or history - that as a people we are more than the sum of our parts. That's what this team exemplifies and that is who we are - one city, one people, One Columbia."
The theme also exemplifies Spirit Communications Park-a place for everyone in the Midlands to come together, a gathering place that will have something for everyone; a place where all are welcome.
"The 'Fireflies' identity fits perfectly with what we are looking to accomplish in Columbia," said principal owner Jason Freier, "the firefly will become a symbol of the unity of the Capital City and Spirit Communications Park will be a year-round gathering pace for families, friends and co-workers to create lasting memories together and a place where major community events and milestones are celebrated."
Fireflies is also a fitting name for "Famously Hot" Columbia. Both the flaming tail at the base of the abdomen and the "C" and "F" (for "Columbia" and "Fireflies") coming together as a flame are nods to the City's slogan.
As the team of the capital of South Carolina, the Fireflies' primary wordmark incorporates the palmetto tree and crescent moon from the state flag.
The team colors are the midnight blue of the South Carolina night sky, a neon green/yellow representing the "glow" of the firefly and a crisp silver used on the wings.
"Today officially kicks off a new era of professional baseball in Columbia," said Fireflies team President John Katz. "Columbia is a vibrant city, and our designers did a phenomenal job in selecting the perfect logos and color palate to compliment our brand, our vision and our community."
The team also announced today that Opening Day for the Fireflies at Spirit Communications Park will be April 14, 2016. With the team name and Opening Day set, the team will begin taking reservations for season ticket packages at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, August 5th. Fans can go to www.ColumbiaFireflies.com for more details on the types of ticket packages and seating available as well as to establish their priority to choose seats for the inaugural season.
About the Columbia Fireflies
The Columbia Fireflies is the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. The Fireflies will play games across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including in-state rivals in Charleston and Greenville. The team has partnered with the City of Columbia and Hughes Development to construct Spirit Communications Park, a multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue at the center of the Bull Street development. The Columbia Fireflies is owned by Hardball Capital, the owner of the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League and the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League. For more information visit www.ColumbiaFireflies.com, or follow the Fireflies on Twitter (@ColaFireflies), Facebook (facebook.com/columbiafireflies) and all popular social media sites.
About Spirit Communications Park
Spirit Communications Park is a 365-day per year multi-use sports and entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Columbia, SC. Spirit Communications Park is the home ballpark for the Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Designed for baseball, concerts, football, soccer and a host of other activities, the venue will seat approximately 9,000 for sporting events and up to 15,000 for major outdoor concerts. With 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot Club Lounge, Spirit Communications Park can also host everything from business meetings to wedding receptions, and everything in between. The venue's will be open 365 days a year and will serve as a public park, with the wrap-around concourse representing 1/3 of a mile for walkers and joggers. For more information visit www.SpiritCommunicationsPark.com.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of The Midlands
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands (www.bgcmidlands.org) mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. BGCM currently serves over 6,000 youth, ages 6-18; at 50 locations. The Clubs provide quality programs in character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports fitness and recreation. Boys & Girls Club is the official charity of Major League Baseball.