Blue Wahoos Stadium Airbnb Rentals To Be Featured On NBC’s Today Show

October 21, 2020

The children led the way, toting bright-colored luggage while beaming with excitement, as they entered the Blue Wahoos home team clubhouse.

They traveled cross-country from Salt Lake City and Dallas with their fathers, who were brothers and sports fans living their own dream with the Blue Wahoos’ Airbnb experience.

The eight-member group – two dads and six children ages 3 to 13 — planned the trip in June.

Inside, a veteran production duo from NBC News in New York had a camera and audio rolling. A perfectly kind of made-for-television moment.

The cameras captured the kids’ joyous shrieks. Showed the excitement among cousins who likely never imagined what they would find in a clubhouse area set up for a team’s next game. A Christmas morning type reaction.

“Oh my gosh, this is the best. It’s awesome,” said Michael Hutchings, a Verizon president from Dallas, who was joined by his brother Steven from Draper, Utah, where both men grew up in a community near Salt Lake City. “I mean, look at the kids. They love it.”

So did NBC.

The segment on the Hutchings’ family stay at the Blue Wahoos’ Airbnb is expected to be shown this Saturday (Oct. 24) during a time slot from 6 a.m. (CST) and 8 a.m. on Weekend Today program. The NBC production duo of Bill Angelucci and Anthony McGowan filmed hours of video in two days last week during the guests’ stay.

They were joined by veteran NBC news correspondent Catie Beck, who interviewed the brothers and met with Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer.

“It takes something special for a story to make it to this level and the fact this did is pretty remarkable,” said Beck, who pitched the story to NBC executive producers, after reading about the Blue Wahoos’ Airbnb setup earlier in the summer. The Weekend Today program allows longer video feature segments.

“It just had all the right elements,” she said. “And it is sometimes really hard to strike that perfect balance like this has.”

Beck kept pushing for the story after various circumstances caused NBC’s team in the summer to cancel previous trips to Pensacola to film.

The Blue Wahoos made history when launching their Airbnb in late May as the first Airbnb at a sports venue in America. Since then, there have been 52 different guest stays at Blue Wahoos Stadium representing 23 different states.

The Blue Wahoos recently won Minor League Baseball’s Golden Bobblehead Award for Best Overall Promotion and Best Non-Gameday Experience during the 10th annual MILB Innovators Summit.

It occurred during a year when all of minor league baseball had 2020 seasons cancelled and operations shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blue Wahoos were among the few in minor league baseball not to furlough or lay off staff. Instead, co-owners Quint and Rishy Studer decided to utilize the year to pivot into being an events company with the Airbnb as part of that portfolio.

“I think it just signifies how hard our team has worked to receive this kind of recognition,” said Bailie Tate, the Blue Wahoos group sales manager, who transitioned to manage the Airbnb experience since its launch.

“I hope it also brings more awareness to Pensacola and what the Blue Wahoos do for the community here,” Tate said. “The (Hutchings) families really exemplify the whole aspect of this.

“It’s the fun, family experience that we seek to provide whether we are doing it at a Blue Wahoos baseball game or with the Airbnb. The mission is the same.”

Tate worked with NBC’s Katie Primm throughout the summer to help ensure the visit could happen. After Hurricane Sally struck Pensacola on Sept. 16, the Blue Wahoos staff worked to restore the field and clean up the stadium area for events and potential Airbnb stays.

The Hutchings brothers learned of the Blue Wahoos’ Airbnb through the national attention it received when launched in May.

“I heard of it on ESPN’s show, ‘Around the Horn.’ At the end of the show, they mentioned the Blue Wahoos Double-A team in Pensacola was renting out their stadium,” said Michael Hutchings.

“We have a group chat with others where we are always talking sports, so we threw it up there. And I thought this would be really cool,” said Steve Hutchings. “We had planned to go to Orlando during the kids’ fall break (Utah schools) this weekend (Oct. 15-18) so we added this stay to the trip.”

While at the stadium, the families were treated to a dinner from Blue Wahoos executive chef Travis Wilson. The kids played ping pong and the X-Box setup in the clubhouse.

They explored the playground area behind the stadium at the Community Maritime Park.

The next morning, the group enjoyed a catered breakfast on the field.

“It’s amazing,” said Michael Hutchings, describing their stay. “The way I had looked at this experience is that you will never get time back with your kids, so go for it. This is cool.”

It was the kind of experience that attracted NBC programming decision-makers to agree when Beck and Primm continually pitched the idea of traveling to Pensacola.

“No one has ever seen a family sleeping in a baseball stadium. So, if you have not seen it on TV before, it’s likely to get bought,” Beck said. “(NBC production executives) love a visual story, but this one also has an underlayer of hard news with the COVID pandemic, which is why you guys (Blue Wahoos) had to close (baseball season cancelled).

“It’s about being innovative as a business, but also you’ve got this warm and fuzzy part with the Airbnb and kids. So, it kind of has everything you look for.”

The Blue Wahoos will continue operating their Airbnb, which includes the option of the visitors’ clubhouse for larger groups, through the rest of this year and beyond.

The success has led to deciding how to maintain the Airbnb around the baseball schedule.

“It’s been a great challenge for us and a great opportunity to showcase what Pensacola has to offer,” Bailie Tate said. “What this Airbnb has done is shown you can still have baseball when there is no baseball. You can run out on the field and feel like a kid again. All in one place.”

by Bill Vilona, senior writer for the Blue Wahoos.

Tate High School Names Varsity And JV Soccer Teams

October 21, 2020

Tate High School named their 2020-2021 varsity and junior soccer teams Tuesday night.

Aggie Soccer team members are:

VARSITY

Calen Arnevik — Senior #6
Nathan Bailey — Senior #10
Owen Jacobs — Senior #2
Caleb Thompson — Senior #1
Logan Tyree — Senior #7
Zac Clary — Junior
Sam Megginson — Junior
Chase Mills — Junior
Cody Raiter — Junior
Joe Thrower — Junior
Alex Barrera — Sophomore
Javaun Bolden — Sophomore
Kyle Cagle — Sophomore
Riley Coleman — Sophomore
Jace Fryman — Sophomore
Doanh Le — Sophomore
Levi Penfold — Sophomore
Caleb Wise — Sophomore

JUNIOR VARSITY

Cooper McKinney — Junior
Gianlucca Valpara — Junior
Thuan Vo — Junior
Brayden Clarke — Sophomore
Sean Jensen — Sophomore
Jonathan Levin — Sophomore
Jaiden Odom — Sophomore
Levi Penfold — Sophomore
Jaxon Reedy — Sophomore
Ethan Sanz — Sophomore
Gavin Buris — Freshman
Kadin Macks — Freshman
Cole Menkhoff — Freshman
Micah Schelling — Freshman
Dal Songput — Freshman
Gavin Spiekermann — Freshman
Thong Vo — Freshman

Pictured: Last season’s Tate High School soccer team. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Northview Beats South Walton 70-49 (With Photo Gallery)

October 17, 2020

The Northview Chiefs beat the South Walton Seahawks 70-49 Friday night in Bratt.

The Chiefs were off to a 14-7 lead in the first, including a Jayden Jackson touchdown. All total, Jackson had eight TDs on the night.

A South Walton pass was picked off by Luke Bridges and ran back to the 1-yard line, setting up a touchdown by Bridges and a 21-7 Northview advantage. It was the first interception of the night; he picked off a Seahawks toss in the endzone late in the game (pictured below).

With a 48-yard run from Jackson, the Boys from Bratt were up 27-10. With a Jamarkus Jefferson TD, the Chiefs were in the lead 35-20. Tied at 35-all in the third quarter, Jackson put the Chiefs back on top 41-35.

The Seahawks answered to take a 42-41 lead, but Jackson took it to the house again to put Northview up as they cruised to a 70-49 win.

Friday night, the Northview Chiefs (3-1) will venture across the Escambia River to take on the Jay Royals. TheRoyals (1-3) are coming off a tough 34-33 loss on the road Friday night at Freeport.

The Chiefs and the Royal will face off in two of the next three week. In addition to this Friday night at Jay, they will meet again on November 6 at Northview.

For a photo gallery, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Escambia Gators Top Tate 55-14 (With Photo Gallery)

October 17, 2020

The Escambia Gators picked up their 16th straight regular season win Friday 55-14 over the Tate Aggies.

The Gators, ranked sixth in the state, jumped out to an early 13-0.

A touchdown from Tate’s Lyle Jackson closed the gap to 13-7. Up 20-7 at the half, the Gators went on to the win.

The Gators are 4-0 on the season, while the Aggies are 1-3.

The Tate Aggies will be at West Florida High School next Friday night, and the Escambia Gators will host the Pine Forest Eagles.

For a photo gallery, click here.

NorthEsambia.com photos by Jennifer Repine, click to enlarge.

Friday Night Finals

October 17, 2020

Here are Friday night football finals from around the North Escambia area:

FLORIDA

  • Escambia 55, Tate 14 [Story, photos...]
  • Northview 70, South Walton 49 [Story, photos...]
  • Freeport 34, Jay 33
  • Washington 23, Pine Forest 7
  • West Florida 28, Choctaw 21
  • Pensacola Catholic 14, Pensacola 0
  • Milton 31, Crestview 27
  • Mosley 44, Gulf Breeze 7

ALABAMA

  • W.S. Neal 20, Escambia County (Atmore) 9
  • Flomaton at Hillcrest CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS
  • Escambia Academy (OFF)
  • T.R. Miller (OFF)

NorthEscambia.com photo.

Flomaton Hurricanes Cancel Next Two Football Games Due To COVID-19 Concerns

October 16, 2020

The Flomaton High School Hurricanes have canceled their next two football games “due to COVID-219 concerns”, the school said in a statement Friday morning.

Flomaton was set to travel to Hillcrest Evergreen Friday night and to play T.R. Miller next week.

NorthEscambia.com file photo.

Thursday Night Football Finals (With Tate Photo Gallery)

October 9, 2020

There was a full slate of high school football games Thursday night, all rescheduled early due to Hurricane Delta.

For a photo gallery from Pace at Tate, click here.

Here are the North Escambia area scores from Thursday night:

FLORIDA

Pace 35 Tate 17
Northview 27, Walton 12
Pine Forest 14, Washington, 6
Pensacola High at Gulf Breeze, 7:30 p.m.
Jay 14, Chipley 12
Escambia 46, Pensacola Catholic 12
Tate Freshmen 23, Pace Freshman 22 (Wed. pm)

ALABAMA

Flomaton 50, Excel 13
Escambia Academy 33, Autauga Academy 0
T.R. Miller 37, Hillcrest 20
Jackson 26, W.S. Neal 22
Williamson at Escambia County (Atmore) 6 p.m. MONDAY

Pictured: The Pace Patriots defeated the Tate Aggies 35-17 Thursday night at Pete Gindl Stadium. NorthEscambia.com photos by Jennifer Repine, click to enlarge.

Tate Aggies Beat PHS 13-6 (With Photo Gallery)

October 3, 2020

The Tate High School Aggies beat the Pensacola High School Tigers 13-6 Friday night at PHS.

Pensacola High quarter Nate Simmons picked up a 43-yard run before going in from a yard out to put the Tigers up 6-0.

Calen Arnevik hit a couple of a field goals for the Aggies, from 34 and 36 yards.

The Aggies took the lead on a touchdown from junior Warren Henke from a couple of yards out for a 13-6 Tate advantage.

In the final minute, a PHS Simmons pass into the endzone was broken up by Henke to seal the win for the Aggies.

The Tate Aggies (1-1) will host the Pace Patriots (0-2) next Friday night at Pete Gindl Stadium.

For a photo gallery, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos by Jennifer Repine, click to enlarge.


Escambia Academy Takes Battle On The Line 27-22 Over Northview (With Photo Gallery)

October 3, 2020

The Escambia County Cougars defeated the Northview Chiefs 27-22 Friday night in Canoe, Alabama.

The two schools are just a few miles apart, separated by the Alabama-Florida state line. They’ve met twice before in the Battle on The Line. In 2016 Northview beat EA 21-14 in Bratt. Then in 2017, Escambia Academy again traveled to Northview and went home with a 41-14 win.

For a photo gallery, click here.

Friday night, the Cougars jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a quarterback keeper by Landon Sim with 6:25 left in the first, a lead they held all the way through halftime.

Thee Chiefs answered in the second half with a 64-yard pass from Northview QB Kaden Odom to Logan Bryan. The extra point was no good. Minutes later Odom found Jayden Jackson for an 81-yard touchdown. With a good 2-point conversion, the Chiefs were back on top in Canoe, 14-7.

Jackson’s second touchdown of the night was a 51-yard run early in the fourth.

EA’s Bubba Nettles and Sims had two touchdown each.

The Chiefs had the ball in the final minute of the fourth when Malik Haynes sealed the win for the Cougars when he picked off a pass from Odom with 40 seconds on the clock.

Northview (1-1) will be on the road at Walton next week, while Escambia Academy (5-1) will be at home against Autauga Academy.

For a photo gallery, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Friday Night Football Finals

October 3, 2020

Here are North Escambia area high school football scores:

FLORIDA

  • Tate 13, Pensacola High 6 [Story, photo gallery...]
  • Escambia Academy 27, Northview 22 [Story, photo gallery...]
  • West Florida 31 Catholic 0
  • Escambia 28, Washington 20
  • Baker 18, Jay 13
  • Milton 28, Pace 0
  • Navarre 35, Gulf Breeze 21
  • Pine Forest – OPEN

ALABAMA

  • Flomaton 35, Bayside Academy 17
  • Escambia Academy 27, Northview 22
  • T.R. Miller 59, Excel 20
  • St. Michael Catholic at W.S. Neal (rescheduled for Oct. 16)
  • Vigor 19, Escambia County 0 (Thursday)

NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

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