Bakersfield hockey team mocks Stockton bankruptcy
The Stockton Thunder hockey team has been the victim of many marketing gimmicks by the Bakersfield Condors. Fans have put up with the Thunder logo on toilet plungers and other “good-natured fun,” but now they say “Boomtown Bakersfield” has finally crossed the line.
In a “curious, if not lame,” attempt to sell tickets, the Record in Stockton reports that the Bakersfield team is promoting their Dec. 27 game against Stockton as “Our City Isn’t Bankrupt Night” –- complete with handouts of fake $1 million bills and fake Rolls-Royces.
Stockton, an epicenter of California’s agricultural exports, became the nation's largest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy earlier this year. Bakersfield, reclaiming its old “Boomtown” title, has enjoyed a relatively strong economic recovery, The Times reported.
Stockton’s fiscal crisis is no laughing matter, said furious Stockton residents and sports columnists. Thunder President Dan Chapman was angered by this “disgraceful promotion,” according to the Record.
Condors team President Matt Riley apologized and said the promotion was intended to be funny. (The team did, after all, recently offer an amateur tryout contract to pop singer Justin Bieber, with the intention of beefing up their offense.)
"It was not our intent to make fun of people who may have lost their jobs," Riley told the Bakersfield Californian. "And we sincerely apologize to anyone who took it that way."
To smooth the ice, Riley is planning a new promotion that may include two-for-one ticket deals to Stockton city employees, the paper reported.
Photo: Bakersfield file photo. Credit: Gary Kazanjian / For The Times