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. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.