From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com
I predict that after a couple of years of curiosity and excitement, attendance will fall at Polar Park, the new baseball stadium to be built as the home of what is now (sigh) called the Pawtucket Red Sox. Polar Park (after Worcester-based Polar Beverages) is supposed to open in 2021. Eventually there may be considerable loyal buyers’ remorse for the big tax breaks and other publicly financed incentives being given to the group of very rich men who are moving the team. And how popular will baseball in general be in a decade? Whatever, I wish them well.
Anyway, however the Boston Red Sox farm team does in Worcester, something of long-term value may come out of the project:
Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the PawSox will partner to improve ballpark technology. This will include having WPI students working on such projects as mobile apps for ordering food, technology to ease parking and special seating for those with sensory challenges.
WPI’s president, Laurie Leshin, said: “As Worcester’s hometown technological university, WPI shares the club’s vision and opportunity for Polar Park: to create a versatile regional sports venue that combines a traditional ballpark environment with modern, smart, and connect amenities.”
So however successful the park turns out to be as a business, technological applications, some of them utterly unanticipated, might come out of the park that can be used to improve things at other large entertainment venues. Think of the surprising electronics and medical advances that came out of the U.S. space program in the ‘60s.