Editor’s Note: First in a series of articles on the Ponce Sports and Entertainment Corp. group’s plans with the new Ponce Leones franchise in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Lbprc).
PONCE – The Misla Villalba brothers entered the National Superior Basketball (BSN) with the purpose of using the sport and the Ponce Lions brand to move the economy of the region and also that of their own companies located in Ciudad Señorial.
Maintaining the same philosophy that sport should be seen as a form of entertainment for the fans, the Ponce Sports Entertainment Corp. group, of the Ponce brothers, now plans to repeat the successful formula of the Lions in the BSN with the new southern franchise in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Lbprc).
“Part of this madness of looking for things to make the region better, both in our personal businesses and in our family, we want the same thing we did in basketball to try to do in baseball,” said the president of the corporation, the engineer Oscar Misla Villalba, to THE SPOKESMAN.
“We have managed to move the wheel economically because there is entertainment and there is a service that is offered to the fan every time the Lions play at home (at the Juan“ Pachín ”Vicéns Auditorium). Now, the fans are going to have one more platform. We hope that, over time, because it is not going to happen overnight, the same thing will happen with baseball, “he added.
One of the main objectives of the Misla Villalba brothers – in which there are also architects and biomedicals – is to capitalize on the location of the Francisco “Paquito” Montaner stadium and the Pachín Vicéns, since they are both in the same sports complex.
According to Misla Villalba, this would give value to the area again and help them to come up with certain things if they activate “the infrastructure of Paquito, Pachín and the space between the two.”
“There we see an opportunity that can help make the teams viable. Because it is very difficult today, either due to the decline in population and business, to make teams viable only by presenting them to play basketball or play ball. They are not economically viable and you have to change the model completely. You have to do it as an entertainment experience, “he said.
“That people who maybe don’t like the event so much say: ‘I’m going to go there because it’s good, I eat well, I meet friends, there is music, there are other services that I need and that I can do two or three at a time. same time; it is easily accessible. And whether we win or lose is part of the experience, ”added Misla Villalba. “If you manage to create that model that, in addition, there is sport, there is an entertainment experience, then it is easier to justify it economically.”
The only obstacle right now for the Misla Villalba brothers is that time is against them, since the Paquito Montaner stadium will have to be repaired after the damage suffered by Hurricane María in 2017 and the earthquakes in 2020.
“We are just – 12 or 13 months we have – for the 2022-2023 season, which is when Ponce would start playing. It is a lot of work that remains pending, but we trust that we can achieve it, “said Misla Villalba.
Once the BSN season is over, the group will begin to work to deliver a preliminary organization chart of the group at the end of November and “with goals for September of next year, if we have that well set up.”
“Obviously, it will depend on the stadium, on the relationships that we make with the community and present this philosophy to the sponsors so that they can mount. But we understand that we will be able to do it. The group is very large and we will be creating the structures to help us with that ”, he pointed out.
Misla Villalba announced that the group has contemplated several entertainment ideas for the fans. The Lions have not played in the winter league since the 2013-2014 season.
* Journalist Giovanny J. Vega contributed to this story. *