Minor League Baseball on Monday released its final, official attendance figures for the 2016 season. This season’s total was 41,377,202 fans attended minor league games, marking the 12th consecutive season the league has eclipsed 41 million fans. This season’s mark is the ninth-largest in history. The Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A Pirates) led all teams, with 636,888 fans attending games at Victory Field.
“In cities large and small, our teams continue to offer their communities the very best in affordable, family-friendly entertainment in a clean and safe environment,” Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner said. “Minor League Baseball continues to offer what I believe is the best entertainment value in sports, and we are very appreciative of the tremendous fan support received again this year.”
The average attendance crown went to the Charlotte Knights (Triple-A White Sox), who drew 8,974 fans per game to BB&T Ballpark, which won the Best Skyline honor in Baseball America’s inaugural Best of the Minors survey. The only new ballpark to open this year, Columbia’s Spirit Communications Park, drew more than 260,000 fans through its gates.
Frisco (Double-A Rangers) topped all Double-A clubs with 436,564 total attendance, Dayton (low Class A Reds) bested all A-ball clubs with 548,574 and Vancouver (short-season Blue Jays) were the kings of their classification with 222,363 fans.
Four new or renovated ballparks are scheduled to open next season. Hartford was slated to open Dunkin’ Donuts Park this year but that plan was waylaid by massive construction delays and political infighting over the stadium’s cost. The Rangers will move into Kinston, N.C.’s Grainger Stadium next season, and Tampa and Lakeland will play next year in freshly refurbished versions of George M. Steinbrenner Field and Joker Marchant Stadium, respectively. Lakeland played this season at Henley Field while Joker Marchant was renovated.