Attendance for Minor League Baseball Up 2.6% in 2019
A total of 41,504,077 fans passed through the gates at Minor League Baseball games in 2019, marking the 15th consecutive season that Minor League Baseball’s 176 teams in 15 leagues drew more than 40 million fans.
The increase of 1,053,740 fans over the 2018 attendance total was a 2.6% increase and marked Minor League Baseball’s largest year-over-year increase since the 2006–2007 seasons and marks the ninth-largest single season total in Minor League Baseball history.
Average attendance across Minor League Baseball (4,044) was up 84 fans per game (2.1%) over 2018.
The Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators led all teams in total attendance (650,934) and average attendance (9,299), while becoming the first team since 2015 to top the 650,000 mark in total attendance. The Aviators recorded 43 sellouts in their inaugural season in Las Vegas Ballpark. The Frisco RoughRiders (455,765) led the Double-A level for the 15th consecutive season, the Dayton Dragons (545,108) led the Class-A level and the Vancouver Canadians (235,980) topped the Short Season and Rookie level leagues.
Eight leagues saw total attendance increases in 2019: Appalachian (5.5%), Carolina (6.2%), Mexican (22.4%), Northwest (2.4%), Pacific Coast (1.2%), Pioneer (18.8%), South Atlantic (2.5%) and the Texas League (4.3%).
“Minor League Baseball continues to set the standard for affordable, family friendly entertainment, and topping 41.5 million in attendance is only possible with the tremendous support our teams receive in each of our communities, from those in major metropolitan cities to those in small town America,” said Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball President & CEO. “To see the Appalachian and Pioneer Leagues have those increases without the benefit of new ballparks shows what they mean to their communities. It is also a testament to the support of our loyal fans and the dedication of our front office staffs across the country and their commitment to making Minor League Baseball the summertime destination for memory making fun and excitement.”
Nine teams set single-game stadium attendance records in 2019 (Clearwater, Durham, Fort Wayne, Great Lakes, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Omaha, Pulaski and Richmond), while 13 teams set franchise records for single-season attendance in their current ballparks (Amarillo, Asheville, Augusta, Fayetteville, Hartford, Jacksonville, Johnson City, Las Vegas, Ogden, Pulaski, Rocky Mountain, Spokane and Tri-City (WA)). Asheville set a single season record for the sixth straight year and Johnson City set a new mark for the fourth straight year, while Everett posted its highest season attendance total in 21 years.
Minor League Baseball’s Hispanic fan engagement initiative, Copa de la Diversion, consisting of 403 games where MiLB teams adopted Spanish-language identities, drew nearly 20% larger crowds than the Minor League Baseball average game attendance.
The MiLB Pride initiative, consisting of 71 event nights, saw crowds that were 12% larger than the average game attendance.
New ballparks in Las Vegas, Amarillo, Texas, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, opened in 2019, increasing Minor League Baseball’s number of new ballparks built since 2000 to 68. In 2020, new stadiums are scheduled to open in Wichita, Kansas; Madison, Alabama; and Kannapolis, North Carolina.
The Dayton Dragons’ streak of consecutive sellouts, which began in 2000, and is the longest in professional sports history, sits at 1,385 games, while the Hartford Yard Goats recorded 51 sellouts at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Toledo posted their 500th sellout at Fifth Third Field, while 14 teams reached attendance milestones in 2019: Omaha (15 millionth fan), Salt Lake (13 millionth fan), Portland (10 millionth fan), Trenton (10 millionth fan), Midland (nine millionth fan), Reno (four millionth fan), Richmond (four millionth fan), Cedar Rapids (three millionth fan in new stadium), El Paso (three millionth fan), Great Lakes (three millionth fan), Gwinnett (three millionth fan), Mississippi (three millionth fan), Hartford (one millionth fan) and Columbia (one millionth fan).
The 2020 Minor League Baseball season will open on April 9.