Zito Tells Pachyderm Club That New Lookouts Stadium Will Be Transformative

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024
  • Gail Perry
From left are Pachyderm president Kevin Robertson, speaker Andrew Zito, and  Pachyderm member Marty Von Schaaf
From left are Pachyderm president Kevin Robertson, speaker Andrew Zito, and Pachyderm member Marty Von Schaaf
photo by Gail Perry

The new baseball stadium on the Southside will be transformative, not only for the Lookouts, but also for development around the stadium that will become a place to live, work and play, members of the Pachyderm Club were told Monday.

Lookouts Vice President Andrew Zito said AT&T Field does not fit the current MLB specification requirements and that location doesn’t have space for expansion.

And he said that the new stadium will be able to be open to the public and can be used as a park and for events by the community.

The speaker said the goal is to make a Lookouts baseball game fun and a memorable event and to sell tickets. Mr. Zito, the man who is behind making every Chattanooga Lookouts game an entertaining event and one not to forget, said that people do not know all that goes on behind the actual game. That starts with details including even the design of the tickets.

Putting on a game has many components people do not think about including producing tickets, planning and promotions to create an exciting event, he said. He said that everybody with the Chattanooga Lookouts is in the business of selling tickets.

Mr. Zito moved to Chattanooga as an intern for the organization and soon became the Food and Beverage Associate in 2012, helped by his early experience of working in restaurants and as a trainer at Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando where he led the hotel’s services to create a memorable stay. Food and beverage are part of the experience, he said. In that position he also planned and implemented theme nights at the Lookouts games and made sales calls to boost attendance. After two years, he became the Ticket Partnership Director who oversaw the group sales, sponsorships, group outings and coordinated game day staffing.

In 2017 Mr. Zito became a vice president of the Lookouts, and that job, too, was selling tickets including finding corporate partnerships and groups. He also manages the day-to-day operations of the team and does “whatever it takes to put on an outstanding and fun fan experience." He said his responsibility is to handle everything outside of the game itself.

The Lookouts have been around since 1885, he said, and the club has been the impetus for a lot of memories, shared experiences and stories and has given a lot of opportunity to work with community members. The different theme nights cater to different groups and bring them to the games. They include themes such as Military Appreciation Night, Golf Night, Used Car Night, School Field Trip Day, Deaf Awareness Night (when one inning is completely silent to illustrate what it is like to not hear.) Another game this year will be hosting Bluey, a family friendly night aimed at kids. And fireworks on Friday nights are enjoyed by everyone, he said.

During a season, over 10,000 tickets are given away to kids in the schools. They are awarded for such things as “the most improved,” which gives teachers a great deal of leeway in choosing the winners. He said giving away the tickets is an experience driver which gets kids to the ball park who otherwise might not be able to go. “We are a community gathering place for everyone,” he told the Pachyderm Club members.

He said that this year the Lookouts have new promotions and 30 new sponsorships, and that gives the opportunity to tell more stories . This year, a new sponsor is Miller Industries, builder of tow trucks in the Chattanooga area, where tow trucks were invented in 1913. He said it will give the opportunity to tell this homegrown story, let people take selfies with the tow trucks and sell more tickets.

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