Jason Freier may not reside in Columbia, but as the managing owner of the Columbia Fireflies, he spends a lot of time here.
A Brooklyn, New York, native, Freier was raised in Queens by his parents — both of whom were New York City public school teachers – and lived just miles from the New York Mets’ Shea Stadium. He is a graduate of Harvard and of Yale Law School. Before starting his current career, Freier was an attorney in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Among other things, he represented owners and potential owners of MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams.
Freier is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Hardball Capital and the managing owner of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (an affiliate of the San Diego Padres) and the Chattanooga Lookouts (an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins). Hardball’s teams have won multiple awards for community service, promotions, marketing and ballpark development.
Freier is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and Leadership Atlanta (class of 2007). He serves on the board of directors of the South Atlantic League, where he is a member of the league’s executive committee, the Southern League and the Midwest League. He serves on the advisory boards of Sarvint and Palmer & Cay. He is also an officer of the Harvard Club of Georgia.
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EAT: I’m a big barbecue fan. I think my favorite in town thus far has been Southern Belly over on Rosewood. One place I haven’t gotten to yet but have heard great things about is Big Boys in north Columbia. Our executive chef, Bobby Hunter, smokes his own meats and creates a homemade sauce we use at the Low and Slow BBQ cart here at Spirit Communications Park. That is what you will find me eating most game nights.
DRINK: Mike Tourville is doing great things over at River Rat Brewery. Other spots I’ve enjoyed are Hampton Street Vineyard downtown and the Cock ’N Bull Pub off of Rosewood (Drive). Two very different atmospheres, but both great places.
SEE: I love outdoor events downtown, so Soda City is a favorite. The State Museum and EdVenture are also really top-notch; I’ve been to each multiple times. As busy as we’ve been building our ballpark and getting our staff in place, I haven’t yet been to a football game at Williams-Brice, but I’m looking forward to doing that this fall.
PLAY: I’m a little biased, but I think the best place to have a great time in Columbia is a Columbia Fireflies game at Spirit Communications Park. We are incredibly affordable and have something for everyone. Walking around the ballpark, you see a real cross section of Columbia. We have families watching the game with kids rolling around on our berms or playing in our inflatables area. In centerfield, we have college students and young professionals at our bar or playing corn hole or human beer pong. Up on our club level, we consistently have many of Columbia’s business and community leaders networking and enjoying the game.
LISTEN: As a college town, Columbia has access to great music. My favorite place is the Music Farm – Trae Judy and his folks provide a great atmosphere and a wide variety of acts from which to choose. Once our field has firmly taken root (it was installed just a few weeks before the start of the season), we look forward to hosting a few major concerts a year ourselves at Spirit Communications Park.