OK, it’s not exactly as if the Patriots are moving to the rebuilt Newell Stadium, or the Red Sox to some new field at Stage Fort Park.
But the Manchester Athletic Club’s landing of the Boston Lobsters professional World Team Tennis franchise for the 2013 season will indeed bring world-class professional tennis players to Cape Ann. And that’s good sports and economic not only for the MAC and Manchester, but could, if marketed correctly, raise the visibility of all of Cape Ann in the process. The Lobsters, one of eight teams in the league and who play 14 matches — seven at home and seven away — announced Friday that they’ll be moving their home from Danvers’ Ferncroft Country Club, where they’ve played the last five years, to the MAC. And the MAC is teaming with the pro team to build a new 1,800-spectator show court. That looms as a nice expansion and development project in its own right.
Will the team and its matches bring thousands upon thousands of new visitors to Cape Ann? Probably not. World Team Tennis is hardly Major League Baseball, where Red Sox Nation fans from across the country plan their vacations around making runs to Boston and Fenway Park to spend their sports and entertainment dollars.
But a team with the likes of touring pro and 2012 Lobster John Isner, who won this year’s Hall of Fame Championships and represented the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics, will put the MAC and Cape Ann on the radar screen for tennis buffs who may be visiting New England. And even the occasional media coverage and national posting of the standings — while identifying the team only as “Boston” – will at least put Manchester and Cape Ann on some new national maps for a clientele that town and Gloucester officials should be looking to attract. Everyone at the Manchester Athletic Club deserves credit for this Lobster landing — and the Lobsters and WTT deserve kudos for making what should prove a very good choice. Welcome to the Cape Ann sports scene, Lobsters; we’re glad you’re here.