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Zimmer lecture explores bringing minor league baseball to Martinsburg

ISSUED: 17 September 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — This year’s Shepherd University Faculty Research Forum pitches off with a presentation by William “Chip” Zimmer, assistant professor of business administration and M.B.A. graduate program coordinator, that focuses on baseball.

Zimmer will discuss research he and four students are conducting on “The Market Feasibility of Bringing Minor League Baseball to West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle,” during a talk Tuesday September 30 at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.

In 2015 the Hagerstown Suns are moving to Fredricksburg, Virginia. Zimmer and students in the M.B.A. program are doing research on the feasibility of recruiting a team to Martinsburg to replace the Suns.

Zimmer said Martinsburg had a minor league team from 1915 to 1930, and Hagerstown, Maryland, has hosted the Suns for 34 years, so the study shows Martinsburg is a viable market to attract a single A team.

The study looks at market size, demographics, ticket prices, the number of people in the surrounding area and how often they might attend a game, and uses this information to make a recommendation about the size of a stadium.

“The big elephant in the room is always who’s going to pay for the stadium and so that would be a second phase of development. If the City of Martinsburg or county of Berkeley decide that this is something they want to pursue then the next step would be to figure out how to fund it,” Zimmer said. “Usually in minor league baseball the owner of the team pays about half of it and taxpayers pay the other half.”

Four M.B.A. students are working on the project this semester with a goal of presenting the results to officials in Martinsburg and Berkeley County. Zimmer also hopes he and the students can present the study results to the North American Society of Sport Management meeting in June 2015 in Ottawa, Canada.

“That gives our students an opportunity to get in front of a national audience and present their work,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know that an M.B.A. student at Shepherd has had an opportunity to do that.”

The research forum is a monthly lecture series highlighting the work of the university’s faculty members. Other lectures scheduled in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies auditorium this fall are:

Dr. Laura Robertson, assistant professor of biology, discussing the “Effects of Environmental Contamination on Gene Expression in Aquatic Organisms,” Monday, October 13, at 1 p.m.

Dr. Cydne Perry, assistant professor of family and consumer science, talking about her research “Pregnancy and Lactation Alter Biomarkers of Biotin Metabolism in Women Consuming a Controlled Diet,” Thursday, November 13, at 1:30 p.m.

Faculty Research Forum lectures are free and open to the public. For more information visit

Listen to William Zimmer’s interview HERE.

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