Jan 7, 2008

How minor league baseball teams attract a crowd

Here's an article from quite a while ago from the Deseret Morning News, about how minor league baseball teams are attracting fans to the games with game entertainment. Highlights:

Perhaps new lyrics should be crafted for the seventh-inning stretch at professional baseball games.

"Take me out to the ball game" just doesn't cut it anymore. In Utah, where three minor league franchises operate, "Take me out for some fun," might be more appropriate.

"We're not in the business of wins and losses," says Ogden Raptors president Dave Baggott. "We're in the business of entertainment."

Whether its postgame fireworks, Fat Elvis Night or Christmas in July, Baggott is a believer in the concept of putting on a show. IOC Bribery Night was a big hit last year and hopes are high that this summer's proposed French Judge's Night (where fans get up and switch sides of the stadium midway through the game) will be as well.

"It's just about having fun," says Baggott. "When people come and leave with a smile on their faces that makes me happy even if we lose 10-1."

In other words, he explains, it's entertainment and then, "by the way, we're playing a baseball game as well."

Putting the fans first, says Baggott, is why the Raptors are bucking a recent trend of declining attendance at the major and minor league levels. Ogden drew 109,360 people to home games last season — tops in the eight-team Pioneer League. Over 36 openings, the Raptors drew an average of 3,037 per game.

Read the entire article...

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