In June Minor League Baseball (MiLB) attracted more than 7 million fans to push its running yearly total over the 20 million mark. The current economic state has had an effect on all aspects of the sports world, but when examined, Minor League Baseball seems to have flatenned the downward trends. 176 MiLB teams have reduced their prices, which have been estimated to break down to an average of 30 less fans per game through May 2009. Through June, that average has been reduced to 19. 3,986 fans per game are down .5 percent from the 4005 average in 2009.
According to MiLB President, Pat O’Connor he sees the consistent attendance marks as a testament to the hard work of its teams and employees “For Minor League Baseball to see the 2009 attendance flat compared to last year at this point is a testament to the tremendous work of our teams, our executives and, most importantly, the loyalty of our fans,”…. “To see the fans enjoying Minor League Baseball at near record numbers in this economy speaks volumes about our product and its place in our country.”
20,509,974 fans have attended the 5,145 games thus far. Through 2008, attendance was at a high with 22,722,519, but with 529 more games.
The International League Columbus Clippers have led the way in 2009 with an average of 9,341 per game. The Oakland Athletics Affiliate, Sacramento River Cats (8,986), Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies (8,843), Round Rock Express, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros (8,760) and the Class-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, Dayton Dragons (8,562) round out the top five.
The Frisco RoughRiders (8,374), Corpus Christi Hooks (6,320) and the Reading Phillies (6,131) round out the top three of Double-A Clubs. The Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies are the above-mentioned respective organizations.
In what is a tremendous trend, eight of the fifteen leagues showed an increase in attendance from 2008. The Pioneer League led the way with a jump of 18 percent. The other leagues that have shown a drastic improvement are as follows; Florida State (10.7), New York-Penn (8.0), California (5.9), Eastern (4.0), International (3.6), Midwest (2.5) and Northwest (0.5).
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.