Indians' financial outlook sky high as attendance soars

October 2, 2013
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The Indianapolis Indians finished their 2013 season with the highest overall regular-season attendance of all 176 Minor League Baseball teams.

This year, the Indians drew 637,579 fans (8,980 per game) through the turnstiles. The Tribe’s home attendance was the fourth-largest in Victory Field history and the best single-season total since the team’s championship campaign in 2000.

The Indians’ record home attendance was 658,250 in 1999. Victory Field opened July 11, 1996.

Victory Field saw a record-setting eight sellouts this season, which surpassed the previous high mark of six capacity crowds in 1997. The Indians this season hosted 25 crowds of 10,000 or more spectators.

As the season progressed, the Indians drew consistently larger crowds, drawing more than10,000 fans per game since the beginning of May (55 games), 10,500 plus since the start of June (43 games) and 11,000 plus in each of the last 24 home contests dating back to July 4.

The Indians weren’t done blazing a trail as the regular season concluded. Along with leading all of the Minors in regular-season attendance, the Indians also boasted Victory Field’s largest playoff crowd of 11,327 fans on Sept. 6 against Durham. The single-game record-setting crowd was larger than all other International League team’s combined home attendance for the postseason, with the Tribe outdrawing Pawtucket through the Red Sox’s three combined games (9,518), Rochester through two combined games (8,587) and Durham through two combined games (7,357).

This season’s regular season attendance was a 7 percent increase over last season, when the Indians drew 595,043 for 70 regular-season home games, averaging 8,501 fans per game. Two post-season home games pushed last year's total attendance up to 605,575 , which was fifth among all Minor League Baseball teams.

Attendance has been on a steady rise the past five seasons, hitting 549,552 in 2009; 569,969 in 2010; and 580,082 in 2011.

Though year-end financial data for the publicly traded team is not yet available, ticket sales revenue this year should be near $5 million, and overall team profit should be near or above $1.7 million. That's a considerable increase in profits from just a few years ago. In 2010 the team had a profit of $944,286.

The Indians, a farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates, saw profit grow to $1.57 million on operating revenue of $11 million in 2012, compared with profit of $1.06 million on revenue of $10 million in 2011.

Ticket sales increased from $4.3 million in 2011 to more than $4.6 million in 2012. Ticket sales are a key indicator of the franchise’s overall financial health, since they directly affect parking, concession, souvenir and other ancillary revenue streams.

The Indians consistently find themselves in the black while paying the city $500,000 annually to lease Victory Field, paying for all operational and capital expenses at the ball park and receiving no public subsidy.


  • Bravo
    Now THATS how you run a ball club. Perhaps they'll offer Mr. Simon an internship?
  • Congrats
    Congratulations to a first class organization. Love going to games at Victory Field. Good to read positive stories about great venues and organizations in our city.
  • Park Status
    Just curious does the state supply any money to Victory Field and the Indians. Victory Field is in a state park.
  • Check It Out
    Victory Field is a really fine park. And the Tribe is fun to watch. If you haven't been, you are missing out on one of Indianapolis' best attractions.
    • Actually, Nick....
      Victory Field is NOT located in WRSP. Rather, it is located just across the street.
    • WRSP
      Victory Field is a part of White River State Park. They do not receive state money that I'm aware of, rather pay the CIB for their lease of the stated in the article above.
    • Ballpark is Great Value for Taxpayers
      Victory Field is not only a great ballpark, it is one of the greatest investments of tax dollars ever in Indy. The facility cost only $18 million to build, and the Indians paid for half of that. Dollar for dollar, only the Monon Trail is a better investment for Indy taxpayers!
    • Curious
      I'm a season ticket holder for the BATS @ Slugger Field in Louisville. Other than your team what amenities does Victory Field offer that makes it so well liked?
    • First Rate for Families
      I appreciate being able to take a group of boys to the ballpark and not going broke. The dollar night food menu is great! Good, clean fun for all.

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    1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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    4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

    5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.