For the fifth straight season, Minor League Baseball has set a new all-time attendance record. During the 2008 regular season MiLB's 176 clubs combined to bring in 43, 263, 740 fans. This is a 1.1 percennt increase from 2007 and marked the first time attendance has been more than 43-million.
"Given the obstacles we faced this year with the economy, devastating floods and late season hurricanes, the 2008 attendance number achieved by our teams is further proof of baseball's renaissance and place in the fabric and fiber that is America," said Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Connor.
The Midwest, Pioneer, Texas, and International Leagues all posted record attendance this season. The Texas League drew three-million for the first time while the International League attracted over seven million fans. Part of the IL's success has to be credited to the newly formed Lehigh Valley IronPigs who drew 602, 033 fans alone in there first season.
Ballclubs that surpassed their 2007 attendance by at least 10% include the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx(24%), Billings Mustangs (19%), Staten Island Yankees (16%), Savannah Sand Gnats (15%), Augusta Green Jackets (13%), Kingsport Mets (13%), Myrtle Beach Pelicans (13%), Casper Ghosts (12%), Daytona Cubs (12%), Sarasota Reds (12%), and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (10%). The Quad City River Bandits had an increase of 39% after changing thier name and logo, and improved the fan experience at Modern Woodmen Park.
It doesn't suprise me that fans keep choosing Minor League ball over MLB games at times. A ticket to Comerica Park to watch the Tigers from the outfield is around $30-$40, and you can drive down to Toledo and catch a Mud Hens game in a nice ballpark and pay $8 to sit behind the dugout. The kids really enjoy MiLB games more, too. The players are more grounded and are always willing to sign autographs. Some games they can even get out and run the bases after the game. If you want to have fun and save money, this is the way to go.