Biz Beat Attendance Tracker: ‘Dollar Dogs’ Pay Off

There may be few times on a minor league team’s schedule when promotions—preferably combined with pleasant weather—matter more than those early-season, weeknight games. Kids are still in school, flexible summer bedtimes have yet to go into effect in most households, and plenty of good seats can often be found at ballparks around the minors.

So how do teams make the most of a challenging time of year besides hoping for good temperatures and clear skies? By offering cheap food and tickets, of course.

The Columbus Clippers (International League) drew more than 9,000 fans to Huntington Park on Monday for “Dime a Dog” night. The Triple-A International League affiliate had equally high hopes for their Buck-A-Bone promotion last night—$1 ribs—but lousy weather led to the team’s second rainout in six openings. Clippers general manager Ken Schnacke says Monday night’s big crowd was likely the team’s best initial Dime a Dog night in April and that attendance was certainly boosted by the cancellation of Opening Day on April 11. And while the team won’t offer promotions they wouldn’t run later in the season, such discounts can impact early-season crowds—so long as Mother Nature cooperates.

“We try and work to get as many people to buy tickets for early in the year before school is out,” Schnacke wrote in an email this afternoon. “However, April and May weather in the Midwest is never consistent and the fans know this. We do not do anything significant that we will not consider doing later; even if we did, people are not coming out with inclement weather. I always ask myself this question every game when I consider the crowd and the weather: ‘Would I bring my family out tonight if I was just a fan?’ When you can be honest with yourself with that answer, it helps you better deal with the situations we all face early each season.”

Bargain tickets and concessions were on display throughout the minors last night. Three teams offered “kids eat free promotions”—including the Trenton Thunder, which packaged it with a “dollar dog night” to draw an Eastern League-best 3,419 last night. Another 18 teams had some form of a two-for-one promotion—the Tulsa Drillers topped the Texas League by attracting 4,117 on $2 Coronas night. The Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) drew 3,155 on “Turn Back the Clock Tuesday”—for $22 fans could get two box seats, two sodas, two hot dogs and two baseball card strips featuring Blue Rocks alumni; or up to six general admission tickets for $2 each.

Below is a round-up of last night’s attendance and promotions. As always, attendance can be influenced by factors beyond what promotions teams have on offer. Just ask those Midwest League clubs, which have already had a total of 20 openings lost this year compared to 24 all of last season.

 

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Pawtucket Lehigh Valley None 5,316 6,645
Charlotte Durham Charitable Tuesday, Education Day No. 1 4,135 3,685
Toledo Indianapolis None 3,796 5,848
Rochester Scranton/WB Family Four-Pack (Four reserved seat tickets, four hot dogs, four 12-oz. drinks, and a yearbook for $32). 2,498 4,621
Gwinnett Norfolk Team Tuesday 2,241 4,439
Columbus Louisville City Barbeque Buck-a-Bone ppd 6,723
Syracuse Buffalo Health & Wellness Expo ppd 2,870
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Iowa Nashville Anthony Rizzo Jersey Shirts 3,867 4,194
Omaha Albuquerque Two for Tuesday, Hit the Books Night 3,008 4,575
Oklahoma City Round Rock None 2,414 5,564
Reno Colo Springs 2-for-$22 Tuesday 2,119 4,895
Tacoma Fresno None 2,102 3,523
New Orleans Memphis Triple Play Taco Tuesday 2,011 5,649
Las Vegas Sacramento None 1,451 4,445
Tucson Salt Lake Free Ticket Tuesday 1,006 2,120
EASTERN LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Trenton Akron Kids Eat Free, Dollar Dog Night, Most Improved Student Night 3,419 4,736
New Britain New Hampshire Kids Eat Free 2,639 3,424
Altoona Richmond Two-for-Tuesday 2,234 3,618
Reading Harrisburg Baseballtown Collector’s Postcard 1,991 4,934
Bowie Erie Tailgate Tuesday, Tightwad Tuesday 1,710 3,334
Binghamton Portland N/A 1,051 1,441
SOUTHERN LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Montgomery Mobile School Day, Dollar Dog Day 7,253 4,099
Chattanooga Birmingham BI-LO BOGO, Great Outdoors Night 4,226 4,737
Pensacola Jacksonville Team Tuesday 3,358 4,551
Mississippi Jackson None 3,022 2,255
Huntsville Tennessee Dew For Tuesday 871 2,170
TEXAS LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Tulsa Corpus Christi $2 Tuesday, $2 Corona Happy Hour 4,117 6,109
Midland Arkansas 2 for 1 Tickets / ‘Hounds Happy Hour 3,157 4,349
Frisco NW Arkansas RoughRiders Horse Race 2,794 6,870
Springfield San Antonio Educational Day, $1 Dog Day, High School Career Day 2,693 3,930
CALIFORNIA LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
San Jose Stockton Merchant Night 2,277 2,377
Lake Elsinore Rancho Cucamonga 2-Riffic Tue$day$/Valley’s Biggest Loser 1,111 4,940
Modesto Visalia Two for $25 Tuesdays 933 2,742
High Desert Lancaster N/A 511 1,301
Bakersfield Inland Empire Opening Week $23 Tuesday 337 831
CAROLINA LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Wilmington Carolina Turn Back the Clock Tuesdays, Thrift Shop Night, UDance Night 3,155 3,958
Myrtle Beach Winston-Salem BI-LO BOGO, Team Tuesday 2,101 3,311
Frederick Lynchburg Guaranteed Win 1,954 3,479
Salem Potomac None 1,208 2,127
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Fort Myers Palm Beach 2-4-1 Tuesday, Collegiate/Pro DH: University of Florida vs. FGCU 3,391 2,141
Clearwater Daytona Lil Anglers Kids Club/ $1 Night 3,243 2,515
St. Lucie Charlotte None 1,193 1,399
Tampa Dunedin 2 For Tuesday 966 1,425
Brevard County Lakeland Bank Challenge, Silver ‘Tees Night 804 1,360
Jupiter Bradenton Knothole Gang 523 828
MIDWEST LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Lansing West Michigan Dollar Deal Day (hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches, sodas for $1) 1,930 1,832
Great Lakes Bowling Green Dodgers Route of Champions Night 1,079 1,479
Peoria Burlington Taco Bell Tuesday, Humana Sliver Sluggers 1,044 1,619
Quad Cities Clinton Kids Eat Free, Dew For Twosday (All Tickets Buy-1-Get-1 Free) 1,024 1,299
Lake County Dayton Dawg Nights 886 1,922
South Bend Fort Wayne Two for Tuesday 822 1,964
Cedar Rapids Wisconsin Great Clips Twins Tuesday 611 1,058
Beloit Kane County None 383 282
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE
Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Greensboro Savannah None 3,032 5,381
Greenville West Virginia None 3,016 4,530
Charleston Rome Healthy Challenge Tuesday, Two-for-$20 Date Night 2,578 4,129
Augusta Lexington Two-For-Tuesdays 1,514 2,216
Asheville Hickory Two for Tuesday Ticket Deal 898 1,892
Kannapolis Delmarva Two-For-Tuesdays, Bingo, Senior Night 848 1,666
Hagerstown Lakewood None 512 1,148

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