Greenville, SC - The South Atlantic League and president Eric Krupa announced its annual league award winners on Tuesday morning, and the Greenville Drive have been selected as the recipient of two of the league's awards, including its highest honor.
The Drive have received the Club Merit Award for the third time in franchise history, and they are also taking home the Excellence in Marketing Award for the fourth consecutive season, and the fifth time overall.
"We are extremely honored to be recognized by the South Atlantic League with these prestigious awards," said Craig Brown, the Drive's Owner and Team President. "The Drive organization is committed to excellence year in and year out, and receiving these awards is tangible proof of the measurable impact we are making on the Upstate community, as well as the dedication and commitment of our front office to making the Drive the premier organization in all of professional sports."
The Club Merit Award is given to the organization that is consistent in their commitment to operational excellence, including the experience of its fans. Moreover, the award recognizes the club that is most dedicated to the health and well-being of its community, and to the South Atlantic League, and it epitomizes all that is good and wholesome relative to minor league baseball. The Drive previously won this award in 2008 and 2010.
The 2017 season marked the beginning of a new era at Fluor Field, as the Drive unveiled a $14 million enhancement project in March that upgraded the fan experience from top to bottom. Among the updates as part of the project were the installation of seats atop the Green Monster in left field, the addition of the Champions Club presented by Hubbell Lighting and the Rooftop at Fluor Field as new hospitality venues, the addition of "The Front Porch," the Drive's new season ticket holder lounge, updated entry plazas, and much more.
As the recipient of the Club Merit Award, the Drive will represent the South Atlantic League as a nominee for the John H. Johnson President's Award, which will be presented at the Baseball Winter Meetings from December 10-14 in Orlando, Florida. The John H. Johnson President's Award has been presented annually since 1974 to honor the complete baseball franchise. The award's criteria are based on financial stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.
The Drive received the Excellence in Marketing Award in each of the past three seasons (2016, 2015 and 2014), as well as 2010, and they continue to be one of the most innovative and marketing savvy organizations in all of professional sports.
The theme put together by the Drive and EP + Co., the agency of record, for the 2017 season was "Just Like Home, but Better." This is a day and age where people can enjoy the comforts and benefits of home by watching television, putting together a movie night or grilling out. At Fluor Field, however, fans can watch TV on a 50 foot screen, eat dinner together as a family without having to cook or clean up, and kick their feet up and binge-watch nine innings of the best show in town. It's "Just Like Home, but Better."
As the Excellence in Marketing recipient, the Drive will represent the South Atlantic League as a nominee for the Larry MacPhail Award. This prestigious honor will be given at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida from December 10-14. The Larry MacPhail Award has been presented since 1966 to the franchise as a symbol of the top marketing effort in all of Minor League Baseball.
"Our goal as an organization is to provide the ultimate fan experience for everyone who enters the Fluor Field gates," said Eric Jarinko, the Drive's General Manager. "Fluor Field is the premier destination in the Upstate for family-friendly, affordable entertainment. Whether fans are here to watch the action on the field, enjoy a hot dog and a drink with friends, or for the many theme and community nights we have to offer, we want them to be wowed by their experience at the home of the Drive."
The Greenville Drive are set to begin their turn in the South Atlantic League postseason beginning on Wednesday, September 6th, and playoff action will return to Fluor Field on Friday, September 8th. For more information, visit greenvilledrive.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.