I think a lot of people are looking at the Asheville Tourists situation all wrong.
Rather than allowing this challenge to brew into yet another divisive controversy and potential drain on our taxes, maybe we should unite and view this moment as an opportunity to shift the outdated business model into a moneymaking enterprise to financially benefit the people of Asheville. Maybe it’s time to let the DeWines and Astros go. Instead of paying more taxes for the right to host a minor league team, why not position Asheville as our nation’s very first Fantasy Baseball Tourist Destination?
How much might wealthy folks pay to visit Asheville and relive their glory days in a historic stadium in one of the most beautiful areas of the world? How much might rich “ballplayers” spend on lodging, restaurants and assorted whatnot? Rather than modernizing McCormick Field at taxpayer expense, maybe we should embrace and even advertise its quaint, throwback qualities.
I see a revolutionary business where tourists pay for the privilege of watching other tourists. Imagine the marketing possibilities: games pitting Tourists vs. Locals (or other Tourists). Goats grazing on hillsides. Potlucks in the outfield. Families and fireworks and corndogs and, of course, our delicious beer!
I don’t want to get all Field of Dreams on people’s asses, but we need not even build anything new or flashy to get the people to come.
— Robert McGee