Indians hit 8-year attendance high

September 2, 2008
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vicfieldWith the books just closed on the Indianapolis Indians' 2008 season, the team’s front office is already looking forward to next season. And why not? This team is hot. Red hot. And I’m not talking about on the field, where they amassed a 68-76 record.

In a time when fans are quick to grumble about the Pacers’ on- and off-court  shortcomings, Peyton Manning’s injuries and disappearing act and even the escalators at the new Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indians have become the darling of the local sports scene.

Win or lose, this team has been attracting fans in growing numbers since 2003, when season attendance at Victory Field fell to 555,000. This year the Indians drew 606,155, the team’s highest attendance mark since 2000. That puts the team’s average attendance at 8,538 per game. Since June 19—a stretch of 38 games—the team averaged more than 10,000 fans per game. Saturday's season closing game drew 15,066.

The attendance turnaround started when team officials began making a serious push to brand Indians baseball as affordable, family entertainment. It’s been a theme forwarded by the team’s local ad agency, Hirons & Co., sans glitzy marketing campaigns or the zany game-day antics that often dot the minor league baseball landscape.

“We think providing affordable, family fun in a safe, clean environment is more important that anything else,” said Indians General Manager Cal Burleson.

The Indians also have gained corporate support for their efforts. Sponsorship revenue is up 20 percent this year over last, Burleson said. “Obviously our message is resonating,” he said. “We feel very good about that.”

Indians officials, who have an agreement to be the AAA farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates through 2012, recently announced that ticket prices will be unchanged for next year. Reserved seats are $9, box seats are $13. Knock off $1 for kids.

“We need to be really aware of our tickets’ price point, and how that fits into the market,” Burleson said. “We want to make sure we stay affordable for everyone.”
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  • Really good to hear. If only the TB Rays could reach these kind of attendance numbers. ;-)
  • I am a season ticket holder and am proud to say I used every ticket this year. I handed them out to clients and employees and attended a number of games myself. Best value and entertainment in town.
  • Great to hear about the Indians. Indianapolis is a fun city, and I am glad that they enjoy the Pirates Triple-A ball club. They're for sure some fun players on that team.
  • PS - Anyone interested, I run an awesome Pittsburgh Pirates blog on MLBlogs.com. The link can be found below, and be sure to spread the word!
    http://theburghblues.mlblogs.com/
  • I don't know why the Pirates need a triple A farm team they already have one at PNC Park

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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.

  2. When the Indiana GOP was going around the State selling the Voucher bill they were promising people that the vouchers would only be for public charter schools. They lied. As usual.

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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.

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