Opening Day Promotions, Attendance Tracker

After weeks of spoiling much of the country with spring-like conditions, Mother Nature returned to early-March form for the start of the minor league season last night.

Cold and rainy conditions made a great night not to be at the ballpark in places like low Class A Asheville and Triple-A Norfolk–where rainouts spoiled Opening Day for two Orioles’ four affiliates. In all, six games were rained out, including five in the South Atlantic League, while several played on in cold conditions–temperatures dipped into 50s at Triple-A Durham.

The conditions dampened a key date on the minor league calendar. Along with the Fourth of July, Opening Day is as close to a sure thing as you get in the minor leagues, as the start of the season typically leads to full houses. Losing that revenue can prove costly for a team’s bottom line, particularly smaller-market teams at the lower levels whose seasons can be more heavily impacted by one bad night than their Triple-A brethren.

The night was not lost everywhere. The Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos attracted 5,038 for its debut as the Southern League’s newest franchise. The price was right in Brevard County (Florida State), where free admission attracted 4,637 fans, and San Antonio (Texas), whose $1 concessions helped the Missions top the TL with 7,032 fans.

And, of course, it would not be the minor leagues without some unique promotions beyond staples like “Thirsty Thursdays” and “Magnet Schedule Giveaways.” Ryan Howard may not be on the Phillies Opening Day roster, but he was a still a hit in Reading, as the R-Phils passed out a double-bobblehead of the first baseman and another favorite son–the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. Fellow Eastern League affiliate Binghamton welcomed fans to the ballpark with a free tailgate party.

Several teams kicked off the season with free concerts, including the Iowa Cubs (Pacific Coast), Jackson Generals (Southern) and Dunedin Blue Jays (Florida State)–which rolled out a band called the Black Honkeys (no joke). The Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest) threw a parade and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Midwest) offered fans a choice of five bobbleheads.

See below for a breakdown of every team’s promotions and attendance from last night’s game. It should be noted that while promotions can impact a team’s performance at the gate, it is not the only factor–the ballpark, concessions, weather, and the arrival of young phenoms certainly play a role (though the Syracuse Chiefs hardly made the most of Bryce Harper’s Triple-A debut last night).



Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Pawtucket Buffalo Player Poster Giveaway 10,333 10,333
Durham Gwinnett Opening Day 7,781 7,781
Syracuse Rochester Unavailable 6,178 6,178
Columbus Louisville Ink Pen, Championship Cap Giveaway/Thirsty Thursday 8,576 8,576
Lehigh Valley Scranton/WB 5th Anniversary Canvas Print 9,722 9,722
Charlotte Norfolk Thirsty Thursday ppd N/A
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Season Average
Iowa Round Rock Live Music/Magnet Schedule Giveaway 8,005 8,005
New Orleans Nashville Mini-Bat Giveaway/Thirsty Thursday 8,886 8,886
Omaha Albuquerque Championship Celebration/Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 7,804 7,804
Oklahoma City Memphis N/A 9,021 9,021
Reno Colorado Springs North Division Title Celebration 8,157 8,157
Tucson Fresno Thirsty Thursday 5,681 5,681
Tacoma Salt Lake Opening Day 5,292 5,292
Las Vegas Sacramento Opening Day/$1 Beer 6,197 6,197
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Reading Portland Ryan Howard/Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Bobbleheads, Dance Team Poster/Happy Hour/Kids Club Happy Hour 6,825 6,825
New Britain Richmond Opening Night/Calendar Giveaway 4,653 4,653
Altoona Erie Fireworks/Magnet Schedule/Thirsty Thursday/Kids Run the Bases 5,354 5,354
Binghamton Akron Fireworks/Free Tailgate Party/Thirsty Thursday 2,443 2,443
Bowie Harrisburg Magnet Schedule Giveaway 4,268 4,268
Trenton New Hampshire Magnet Schedule Giveaway/Thirsty Thursday 6,497 6,497
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Jacksonville Huntsville 50th Anniversary Golden Coin Giveaway/Poster Giveaway 6,653 6,653
Chattanooga Tennessee Magnet Schedules Giveaways 3,137 3,137
Mississippi Mobile Couponing Night/Magnetic Schedule Giveaway/Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 6,032 6,032
Pensacola Montgomery Magnet Schedule Giveaways 5,038 5,038
Jackson Birmingham Dollar Night/Mark Wagner Postgame Concert/Opening Night 4,645 4,645
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Corpus Christi Nwest Arkansas Magnet Schedule/Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 5,662 5,662
San Antonio Tulsa Dollar Concessions 7,032 7,032
Springfield Frisco Magnet Schedule/$1 Brats/Fireworks 4,193 4,193
Arkansas Midland Opening Night 6,350 6,350
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire Fireworks/Thirsty Thursdays/Magnet Schedule 3,567 3,567
High Desert Lancaster Thirsty Thursday 1,891 1,891
Modesto San Jose Pregame Party/Fireworks/Screamin Sky Show 3,368 3,368
Lake Elsinore Stockton Magnet Schedule 7,569 7,569
Bakersfield Visalia Thirsty Thursday 1,559 1,559
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
No games scheduled
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Dunedin Clearwater Thirsty Thursday/live music from The Black Honkeys 1,385 1,385
Charlotte Fort Myers Thirsty Thursday/Magnetic Schedule 3,768 3,768
Bradenton St. Lucie Fireworks/Free admission for Bright House customers 4,256 4,256
Brevard County Daytona Free Admission/Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 4,637 4,637
Tampa Lakeland Thirsty Thursday 1,562 1,562
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Dayton West Michigan Opening Day Celebration 8,402 8,402
Fort Wayne Lake County Thirsty Thursday/Fireworks 8,577 8,577
Clinton Burlington Magnet Schedule Giveaway 1,003 1,003
Beloit Peoria Magnet Schedule Giveaway 759 759
Wisconsin Cedar Rapids Former Rattlers Bobblehead/Thirsty Thursday 4,576 4,576
Bowling Green South Bend Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 5,539 5,539
Quad Cities Kane County Parade/Championship Pennant Giveaway/Magnet Schedule Giveaway/Thirsty Thursday 4,783 4,783
Home Team Opponent Promotion Attendance Average
Greensboro Lexington Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday ppd N/A
Savannah Augusta Magnet Schedule/Fireworks/Thirsty Thursday 3,310 3,310
Asheville Delmarva Thirsty Thursday ppd N/A
Kannapolis Hickory Magnet Schedule/Thirsty Thursday ppd N/A
Greenville Lakewood Thirsty Thursday 5,459 5,459
Charleston Rome Thirsty Thursday ppd N/A
Hagerstown West Virginia Thirsty Thursday 2,078 2,078