Daylight-saving time a hit for Tribe

April 29, 2008
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vicfieldThe Indianapolis Indians are just 321 fans short of drawing 7 million fans to Victory Field, which opened mid-summer 1996.

The team plans to celebrate the milestone tonight when the Tribe plays the Columbus Clippers. The 7 millionth fan to walk through the gate will receive a free seven-game ticket package, Indians souvenirs and an opportunity to throw out a ceremonial pitch.

Another aggressive marketing plan, team officials said, has the Indians off to a fast start in attendance this year. Topping last year won’t be easy. In 2007, the Indians attracted 585,785 through the turnstiles, a 10-percent increase from 2006. The 8,383 per game average was the team’s highest attendance since 2001.

Through 12 home games this year, the Indians have drawn 63,762 fans, up from 59,995 through 12 games last season. Crowds tend to increase when the school year ends and the weather warms up.

While Victory Field continues to be a great attraction, Indians officials got a surprising boost from daylight-saving time.

Indians Chairman Max Schumacher told the franchise’s board members in 2006 he thought DST would hurt attendance. Schumacher said the glare from the later sunset would obstruct the view from the right field side of the venue. The additional daylight, Schumacher surmised, would also keep people away from the ballpark doing other outdoor activities and hinder the team’s post-game fireworks.

“What we found was, with it staying light longer, it has helped with people staying later at the games,” said Indians General Manager Cal Burleson. “That means people are staying and buying more concession items and souvenirs. It has turned out to be a positive.”

In 2007, Indians’ ticket sales increased 15 percent, merchandise sales rose 10 percent and concession sales were up 33 percent from 2006. 

The team's only adjustment to DST was moving Friday games' start time from 7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. “That’s what the information from the barcode on the tickets was telling us to do,” Burleson said. “It showed us that people were arriving later on Friday.”

Oh, the Indians made one last adjustment. The team added three new ticket sales windows to the six existing.

“Walk-up ticket sales were so good at times last year,” Burleson said, “the lines backed up into West Street.”

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.