Indians continue to defy odds, draw bigger crowds

Even as Wall Street staggers and the economy wavers, the Indianapolis Indians, the city’s minor league baseball team, continues to score.

The Indians’ attendance increased from 549,552 in 2009 to 569,969 in 2010. After a strong weekend, the team will almost certainly see a solid attendance increase this year over last, and still has an outside shot at eclipsing 600,000 this season.

Following a weekend in which the Indians drew 34,405 fans over three games at Victory Field, the club’s year-to-date attendance has now surpassed the 500,000 mark. The Indians year-to-date attendance continues to track ahead of last year’s pace.

Through 63 home dates played this season the Indians have drawn a total of 516,355 fans compared to 503,583 through the same number of dates last season. Earlier this season, the Indians welcomed the nine millionth fan to attend an Indians game at Victory Field since the ballpark opened on July 11, 1996.

The creativity of the team's marketing staff and its myriad game-day promotions have no doubt aided the attendance lift. The opening of the 1,005-room JW Marriott directly north of Victory Field certainly hasn't hurt either.

The Indians next home game is Monday at 7 p.m. against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The IronPigs are managed by Hall-of-Famer and former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandberg. The Indians are chasing the Iron Pigs for a playoff spot.

Only two of the Tribe’s remaining eight home games fall on a weekend, which could dim its chances of hitting the 600,000 attendance mark. But if you’re not playing in the NFL, and you’re still seeing growth in this economy, most sports economists would consider that a big win.

The stock of this publicly (and thinly) traded company is one of the few sure bets to hold its value during these tumultuous times.
 
 

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