Indians could be headed for all-time attendance record

March 26, 2014
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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.

Can it get any better than that? Yes, it can.

With the April 10 home opener approaching, season ticket sales are running 6.5 percent over last year, and group sales are up 24 percent, said Indians General Manager Cal Burleson.

That’s saying something. Last year, the AAA farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates drew 637,579 fans (8,980 per game) through the turnstiles. The Tribe’s 2013 home attendance was the best single-season total since the team’s championship campaign in 2000.

Though Indians executives aren’t the type to hype projections, they have an eye on an all-time attendance record at Victory Field this year. The Indians’ record home attendance was 658,250 in 1999. Victory Field opened July 11, 1996.

The Indians have a couple of things going for themselves in the ticket sales department. First,the team uses a ticketing system from Hicksville, N.Y.-based Glitnir Ticketing Inc. that, according to Burleson, is one of the most efficient in all of baseball.

That allows the team to keep ticket prices—and service charges—down, Burleson said, which led the Indians to top all Minor League Baseball team in Internet sales last year. That system—along with a strong team and a bevy of promotions—should keep the Indians toward the top of Minor League Baseball attendance again this year.

The Indians are looking to boost their Internet ticket sales even more this yearby offering fans $2 off on tickets bought at least one day before the game. That’s double the discount the team offered last year for advance-sale tickets, and team officials think it will have a positive impact on overall attendance.

“We’re trying to incentivize people to make a commitment early to come to the game,” Burleson explained. “We have had a positive reaction from the fans in the last couple years we offered this, so we increased the incentive.”

Tickets bought in advance will be $14 for a box seat and $10 for a reserved seat. Game day, those same tickets will cost $16 and $12. Last year, the Indians sold 25 percent of their tickets on game day.

The Indians also should benefit from a back-loaded home schedule, with more home games in the summer and early fall than in the spring, when weather is iffier.

“We think it’s a really good schedule in terms of selling tickets,” Burleson said. “It’s certainly better than 2013, which was one of the most challenging schedules we’ve had with so many (home) games in April.”

This year, the Indians have 13 of 27 games in April at Victory Field. Last year, the Tribe had 19 home games in April. Shifting those six home games into the summer months can add 12,000 to 15,000 onto the Indians’ attendance.

The Indians also have a huge July 4 weekend homestand. For years, the Indians have lobbied their league for a July 4 home game. And for years, that game has drawn north of 14,500 fans to Victory Field.

This year, the Indians will host home games on July 4, 5 and 6. With those games falling on Friday, Saturday and Sunday—and the team extending the July 4 fireworks festivities to those other two games—team officials are hoping for larger-than-normal crowds all three nights.

The Indians also are confident a new Wi-Fi system this year will draw more fans. Not only will fans at Victory Field be able to better use their wireless and cellular devices, but the Indians also hope to use the system to connect with fans during the game in a new way—through trivia contests, special offers and other initiatives.

“We’ll walk before we run with it,” Burleson said. “But we’re definitely looking at doing some things to enhance the fan experience.”

In addition, the Indians have upped the ante on their popular autograph nights; bringing in the likes of retired baseball all-stars Eric Davis, Al Kaline, Bruce Sutter, Bill Buckner and Ferguson Jenkins. The Indians recently signed a deal with AT&T to sponsor the autograph nights.

“Those have been really popular with a range of fans, but especially with adults,” Burleson said. “And we expect them to continue to be a draw this year.”

  • Go Indians
    I got my season tickets in the mail on Wednesday. Can't wait to see the new gift shop. Top notch organization. Summer is almost here. Go Tribe!

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?