The Mad Ants are making changes to how they prepare for games and how fans enjoy them.
The Mad Ants, who open their 10th anniversary season Nov. 12 at Greensboro, North Carolina, have historically practiced at Concordia Seminary. But they will now practice at the ASH Centre, where the Lutheran Health Network, the Mad Ants’ presenting sponsor, has been renovating.
“We’ve kind of been nomads through the years, sometimes practicing at Concordia Seminary and sometimes at places like McMillen (Park Community Center),” Mad Ants president Tim Bawmann said. “This has worked out great for us and the big thing is it gets us off the concrete floor at Concordia Seminary, which is something (Indiana Pacers president) Larry Bird was concerned with.”
The ASH Centre will give the Mad Ants more access to locker, weight and training rooms and enable players to leave their belongings instead of having to pack up daily.
“It’s a different mindset and this will enable them to feel more a part of the community,” said Bawmann, who was hired in May by the Mad Ants, entering their second season of being owned and operated by the Pacers.
The Mad Ants’ first game this season at Memorial Coliseum will be Nov. 20 against defending champion Sioux Falls and fans will see a series of differences.
The addition of more curtains has changed the seating capacity to about 5,000 – down from the 7,500 of last season and the 12,000 when the team was founded – and this should improve the atmosphere and demand for tickets, Bawmann said.
The Mad Ants will now have a drum line and improved fan zones, including the return of a bounce area for kids. Included among their improved giveaways will be a Nov. 20 anniversary ring giveaway for 1,000 fans, a Dec. 30 "Space Jam" replica jersey giveaway for 500 fans and a bobblehead night April 1 for 1,000 fans.
“My background is in minor league baseball and one of the things we do where I came from is premium giveaway items and I don’t mean bumper stickers and pennants,” Bawmann said.
On Dec. 10, the Mad Ants will collaborate with Heartland Sings and the Allen County Bicentennial Task Force to try and break the Guinness World Record for most people singing on a live radio broadcast. The song will be “Back Home Again in Indiana” and the Mad Ants are offering discounts for music classes, bands, and groups that would like to help break the record at halftime. Call 260-469-HOOP for information.
Single-game tickets are on sale at the Coliseum and TicketMaster.