Through 68 home games, the Indianapolis Indians are about 1,000 ahead of last year’s record attendance pace.
All will come down to the season’s last home stand Sept. 2-5. This home season will end on a Wednesday-Saturday stretch—just like last year.
Last year, the Indians drew a standing-room-only crowd of 15,250 to its regular-season finale at Victory Field to reach 660,289 for the year. That bested the previous record of 659,237 set in 1998.
This year the Indians sales and marketing crew are rallying around the hashtag #660290orbust.
“We have a shot at breaking last year’s attendance record but we need a little bit more help from our amazing fans to get over the top,” said Indians spokesman Jon Glesing.
Glesing added that it might come down to drawing a big crowd to the home finale again this year to break the record.
“Add the excitement of a pennant race to a potential attendance record, not to mention a full slate of fun promotions coupled with what appears to be a favorable weather forecast, and we hope it adds up to lots of fans visiting Victory Field this week,” Glesing said.
The Indians are leading the International League West, with Columbus hot on the Tribe’s heels.
To grease the turnstiles, the Indians are rolling out some of their biggest promotions.
Thursday’s game—a special Bark in the Park night where fans can bring their dogs—is a hot seller, with the portion of tickets reserved for people who want to bring their dogs already sold out. Other tickets remain. Sun King will debut a new Oktoberfest brew to boot.
On Friday, the Indians will hold a jersey auction to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to benefit Community Health Network. The game-worn jerseys will be a special edition teal with purple sleeves—the colors of suicide prevention awareness.
Fireworks will be held Friday and Saturday immediately after the game.
The home finale on Saturday also features the team’s annual player jersey raffle where fans age 18 and older can register when they arrive at the ballpark and raffle winners come onto the field right after the game to receive that night’s jersey right from the player.
Team executives credit a more aggressive sales and marketing approach over the last five years for a run of year-over-year attendance gains. Some also speculate that the Indians’ moderately priced tickets became more attractive as an entertainment option amid the slow recovery from the Great Recession.
As the economy swooned, the team only drew 549,552 in its 2009 season. The annual figure edged to 569,969 in 2010, 580,082 in 2011 and 595,043 in 2012. The 2013 total, 637,579, was the highest in Minor League Baseball.
This year, the Indians are second in the 14-team International League in attendance, just behind Charlotte, and are expected to be in the top five in attendance in all of Minor League Baseball.