Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we had the opportunity to catch up with Eric Edelstein, General Manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Eric does a fantastic job of leading this team and serving the community. With the Naturals coming up on five years of being in the community we felt it was a great time to highlight all they do to better our region.
How has transitioning to Northwest Arkansas been good for the team?
All in all, its been a fantastic move for the club. Northwest Arkansas is such a progressive and forward thinking community in so many ways and have embraced us from day 1. We continue to build our fan base through programs focused at all demographic and socio-economic levels. The regional nature of Northwest Arkansas has been an incredible opportunity to build a fan base larger than the local high school level, but more intimate than the statewide level.
We are five years in since the Naturals moved here. Do you have a different feeling now than when you first arrived about NWA?
Absolutely. 5 years ago it felt like a place to come and work. Now it feels like a home where I know so many people and there is such great interest in our program. No longer convincing people to hear me out, people now know who we are and respond.
What are you looking forward to over the next year?
Over the next year I'm excited about the Texas League All-Star Game and all that it will bring with it. Our entire season will be focused around that event and we'll celebrate the great players we've had over our short history as well as introduce Northwest Arkansas to a much broader audience than we ever could without such an event.
Northwest Arkansas is hosting the Minor League All-Star Game in 2013. How were you able to secure this, and what impact do you feel this will have to NWA?
We were confident in securing the event at the time that was right for us and made a push for 2013 as a great time in our history to bring a new and exciting even to the fans. With our amenities and facilities, we felt the timing was our call and got what we wanted. My hope is that all of NWA will rally behind the event and be ready to celebrate with us throughout the two day event.
Do you think the Don Tyson interchange set to start construction soon will have an impact on raising attendance?
We understand that we're still a couple years away from the Don Tyson interchange, but anxiously await its arrival. Not only will it help our fans get to the ballpark and exit the ballpark easier, but will also make for an attractive area for commercial and residential development. We enjoy our location in Northwest Arkansas, but can't wait for a time when we can have more neighbors to share with!
How do the NWA Naturals give back to the community?
I could answer this question with a chapter in a book, but we give back in every way we possibly can. We've raised over $120,000 in cash this past year for local non-profits through our ticket fundraising programs. We've donated well over $150,000 in tickets, suites, merchandise and memorabilia for local auctions. We've appeared at over 150 events with our mascot and we've hosted over 40 non-profit events at our ballpark rent-free. Our giving philosophy is simple....... when asked, try to find a way to say yes.