SBD/September 18, 2013/Research and Ratings

MiLB Attendance Rises 2%; Indianapolis Indians Overtake Lehigh Valley IronPigs For Club Lead

The 160 teams affiliated with Minor League Baseball (excluding the Mexican League) averaged 3,999 fans per game during the ’13 regular season, up 2% from a year ago and up slightly from 3,992 two seasons ago. As has been the case with MLB, minor league clubs had weather challenges this season, with 119 less games than in ’12. The Triple-A Int’l League once again led all leagues, averaging 7,041 fans per game, which was up 5% from a year ago. The Single-A Northwest League led all affiliated leagues with a 10.5% jump in attendance. The Single-A Carolina League averaged 3,657 fans per game, setting a league record for the second straight season as six of eight clubs showed year-over-year gains. Also seeing a strong gain was the Double-A Southern League, whose average of 3,515 was its best since ’08.

'13 MiLB AFFILIATED LEAGUE ATTENDANCE (EXCLUDES MEXICAN LEAGUE)
LEAGUE
LEVEL
TEAMS
GMS
TOTAL
AVG.
PREV.
% +/-
'12 GMS
'12 TEAMS
Int'l
AAA
14
961
6,766,442
7,041
6,699
5.1%
971
14
Pacific Coast
AAA
16
1,119
6,763,683
6,044
6,052
-0.1%
1,123
16
Texas
AA
8
541
2,815,133
5,204
5,164
0.8%
549
8
Eastern
AA
12
811
3,743,582
4,616
4,669
-1.1%
812
12
Midwest
Low-A
16
1,054
4,118,049
3,907
3,730
4.7%
1,095
16
Carolina
High-A
8
529
1,934,740
3,657
3,520
3.9%
533
8
Southern
AA
10
659
2,316,591
3,515
3,237
8.6%
665
10
Northwest
Short-Season A
8
299
984,432
3,292
2,979
10.5%
301
8
South Atlantic
Low-A
14
905
2,951,813
3,262
3,279
-0.5%
932
14
New York-Penn
Short-Season A
14
505
1,602,725
3,174
3,290
-3.5%
517
14
Pioneer
Rookie
8
295
673,124
2,282
2,317
-1.5%
300
8
California
High-A
10
696
1,583,488
2,275
2,293
-0.8%
690
10
Florida State
High-A
12
755
1,212,184
1,606
1,592
0.9%
763
12
Appalachian
Rookie
10
308
275,419
894
914
-2.2%
305
10
MiLB TOTALS
160
9,437
37,741,405
3,999
3,921
2.0%
9,556
160
 

FARM-VILLES: The Indianapolis Indians topped all clubs this season, dethroning the Lehigh Valley IronPigs after that team held the attendance title for the past three seasons. The IronPigs still ranked second in ’13, and had a run of 22 straight sellouts to end the season. Several MiLB clubs had new or renovated parks in ’13. The Birmingham Barons opened a new downtown ballpark this season, and topped the Southern League in attendance, with the average up 89% from the final season in the suburb of Hoover, Ala., last year. The Single-A Northwest League Hillsboro Hops averaged 3,557 fans per game during their first season in the suburb of Portland, Ore., up 118% from the club’s final season as the Yakima (Wash.) Bears in ’12. The Single-A Florida State League Bradenton Marauders were the beneficiary of $10M in renovations to McKechnie Field this season, and the club set a new record with 1,772 fans per game, up 17% from the record set last season. Meanwhile, two clubs set for new ballparks next season finished last in their respective leagues. The Charlotte Knights were in the cellar of the Int’l League, but will open a new downtown ballpark next season after playing in Fort Mill, S.C., since ’90. The Tucson Padres also ranked last in PCL attendance, but the club will move to a new ballpark in El Paso, Texas, next season.

TOP TEAMS IN MiLB ATTENDANCE
TEAM LEAGUE
TOTAL
GAMES
AVERAGE
Columbus Clippers Triple-A Int'l
635,613
69
9,212
Lehigh Valley IronPigs Triple-A Int'l
613,075
68
9,016
Indianapolis Indians Triple-A Int'l
637,579
71
8,980
Sacramento River Cats Triple-A PCL
607,329
72
8,435
Dayton Dragons Single-A Midwest
579,946
69
8,405
Buffalo Bisons Triple-A Int'l
537,747
65
8,273
Louisville Bats Triple-A Int'l
581,114
71
8,185
Round Rock Express Triple-A PCL
589,042
72
8,181
Albuquerque Isotopes Triple-A PCL
567,568
71
7,994
Pawtucket Red Sox Triple-A Int'l
540,034
69
7,827
Toledo Mud Hens Triple-A Int'l
560,080
72
7,779
Salt Lake Bees Triple-A PCL
531,221
71
7,482
Memphis Redbirds Triple-A PCL
498,362
69
7,223
Durham Bulls Triple-A Int'l
498,735
70
7,125
Frisco RoughRiders Double-A Texas
479,873
68
7,057

 

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