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See 2018 Minor League Baseball Attendance Numbers For Every Team

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For the first time since 2004, Minor League Baseball's attendance dipped below 41 million. There are a number of possible factors at play here, including the reduction of scheduled games across Double-A and Triple-A and increasingly unseasonable extreme weather across large swaths of the country, which J.J. Cooper has covered in this story. 

Even with the dipping numbers, there were a few clear winners this year.

First and foremost were the Charlotte Knights, who won the races for most overall fans (619,639) and best average attendance (8,980). The Knights bested the IL-rival Indianapolis Indians in both categories despite losing one more opening date. Predictably, the top seven best-drawing domestic teams are all from Triple-A: Charlotte, Indianapolis, Round Rock, Nashville, Columbus, Lehigh Valley and Albuquerque. 

In fact, nine of the top 10 domestic attendance leaders can be found in either the International or Pacific Coast League. The one exception? The Dayton Dragons of the low Class A Midwest League. The Dragons, who consistently pack Fifth Third Field, drew 550,725 and averaged 7,868 fans per opening. This isn't new, either. In 2017 Dayton was also the only non-Triple-A club in the Top 10. 

The big winners in Double-A were the Frisco RoughRiders, who drew 468,259 fans to Dr. Pepper Ballpark this season. Winston-Salem came out on top in high Class A, with 292,774 fans at BB&T Ballpark, meaning that White Sox affiliates topped two levels of the minor leagues.

The short-season crown went to the Northwest League's Vancouver Canadians, who brought 239,086 to ScotiaBank Field, while the Rookie-level champions were the Ogden Raptors with 129,285 fans over the course of their seasons. 

The Augusta GreenJackets also saw a huge boost in attendance, due almost certainly to the opening of SRP Park this season. The new park gave the GreenJackets 76,886 more fans overall, and a whopping 1,304 more fans per game. The season also marked the first time since 2011 that the GreenJackets finished a year having drawn more than 200,000 fans. Their average increase was far and away the best in the minors, topping the Greenville Reds by 897 fans. 

Speaking of which, they're the first of three consecutive Rookie-level teams to finish in the top five of largest average increase this season. Greenville (which changed affiliations) was followed by Pulaski and Idaho Falls. Also in the Pioneer League, nostalgia for Helena's final season as an affiliated club seemed to cancel out any unhappiness over the upcoming departure. Helena stayed relatively steady by drawing 51 fewer fans per game than in 2017.

The steadiest clubs overall, however, were the Rookie-level Danville Braves and the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. Danville drew an average of one more fan per game than in 2017, and Montgomery drew one fewer fan per game. 

And then there's the Tebow Effect. After the quarterback-turned-outfielder spent 2017 blessing Columbia and St. Lucie with his presence, it was Binghamton's turn in 2018. The effect took a little while to kick in because of the early frigid weather in the northeast, but once it did the results were obvious. The Rumble Ponies drew a total of 220,279 fans to NYSEG Stadium, and an average of 3,553 fans per opening. 

The total marked the eighth time in 25 years that the franchise had topped 220,000 fans, and the average was the highest in the club's history. The team also set a single-game attendance record on July 20, when 7,488 fans came out for the Ponies' game against the Trenton Thunder. Those figures might have been even larger had Tebow's season not been cut short in mid-July with a broken hand that ended his season.  

On the other side of that coin, both Columbia and St. Lucie felt the Tebow Aftereffect. Columbia, in its third year after relocating from Savannah, felt one of the biggest stings of the year at the box office. Their average attendance dropped by 1,018 fans per game, the second-largest drop in the minors. St. Lucie's downturn wasn't quite as stark, but they still lost an average of 485 fans per game, the sixth-largest dip in the minor leagues. 

The biggest drop, however, belonged to the New Orleans Baby Cakes, who lost 97,269 overall and dropped their average attendance by 1,727 fans per game. This was despite losing four fewer games in 2018 than they did in 2017. Using their average attendance of 3,827 from this year, those four rainouts cost New Orleans 15,308 fans, which still leaves a drop of roughly 82,000 fans for the season. Part of this is certainly attributable to the sheen wearing off of the Baby Cakes name, which is in its second year. 

The Hartford Yard Goats, however, got a boost in their second season at Dunkin' Donuts Park (after their inaugural campaign was spent entirely on the road). The Goats drew 405,403 fans this season, making them the first minor league team in Connecticut to draw more than 400,000 in a season. In fact, they joined Dayton as one of just two teams (and one of just 21 overall) to eclipse the 400,000 mark. 

The Florida Fire Frogs once again were the unluckiest team in terms of weather. After losing 17 openings in 2017, the team had 14 washouts in 2018, giving them a total of a whopping 31 rain dates over two seasons. To put that in perspective, that's 22 percent of their home dates lost to weather over two seasons. Similarly, the Hagerstown Suns have lost 17 percent of their home games to weather over the last two seasons. SIx teams in each of the last two years have lost double-digit games to weather. Thirty-two teams in 2018 went the entire season without losing a home opening. 

TeamOpeningsOpenings LostTotalAverageAverage Change Total Change 
Charlotte Knights691619,6398980-129-8,887
Indianapolis Indians700619,1228845-314-22,019
Round Rock Express700616,6368809855,955
Nashville Sounds691603,1358741-1209,456
Columbus Clippers682587,0678633-427-28,992
Lehigh Valley IronPigs664561,7458511-306,599
Albuquerque Isotopes700556,3307948-3013,828
Dayton Dragons700550,7257868-170-3,913
El Paso Chihuahuas691539,5207819-75-5,148
Sacramento River Cats691538,7857808-224-23,452
Durham Bulls700536,3047661-55-11,537
Buffalo Bisons646527,98882501491,414
Toledo Mud Hens691507,9657362-252-25,049
Salt Lake Bees691477,528692118-5,674
Frisco RoughRiders682468,259688674-1,744
Louisville Bats700466,0266658-210-998
Iowa Cubs637463,3997356-407-7,2261
Oklahoma City Dodgers691463,195671318018,971
Rochester Red Wings673437,9746537-16-7,607
Hartford Yard Goats682408,942601420213,746
Fresno Grizzlies671405,4036051-157-22,938
Richmond Flying Squirrels646396,686619816410,501
Pawtucket Red Sox6643948115982-424-15,149
Birmingham Barons682391,0615751-184-664
Reading Fightin Phils682388,5105713-341-23,188
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders637386,8196140-322-52,593
West Michigan Whitecaps673386,60957702052,626
Fort Wayne TinCaps664376,4225703-228-32,831
Tacoma Rainiers691372,7805403-31-2,171
Reno Aces700351,29850191253,796
Trenton Thunder700351,2975019-1142,284
Tulsa Drillers674350,3965230-367-24,580
Kane County Cougars646350,0285469-420-44,539
Portland Sea Dogs619346,341567825-9,812
Omaha Storm Chasers655345,8305320-35-12,947
Akron RubberDucks691344,7544996-2061,403
South Bend Cubs700343,7634911-374-10,307
Norfolk Tides646341,3695334-109-17,894
Corpus Christi Hooks700340,6074866-789,365
Memphis Redbirds682340,4765007-66-9,531
Las Vegas 51s700332,2244746-311-26,835
San Antonio Missions673327,276488532821,925
Springfield Cardinals673326,362487170-4,897
Greensboro Grasshoppers664322,1564881-354-28,587
New Hampshire Fisher Cats637319,099506533034,991
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp636317,3355037-134-8,408
Lansing Lugnuts682313,59246121449,749
Greenville Drive655313,5074823-76-14,715
Tennessee Smokies664308,0694668-313-5,727
Charleston RiverDogs682305,0404486-8-582
Northwest Arkansas Naturals682304,52644787500
Pensacola Blue Wahoos691300,0024348281,894
Altoona Curve655297,11845711762,632
Arkansas Travelers664296,8474498-477-31,500
Lakewood BlueClaws637293,4134657-551-45,131
Winston-Salem Dash664292,774443621-11,833
Lexington Legends637281,1344462136-76
Syracuse Chiefs664277,3324202-434-14,722
Frederick Keys646275,0014297-527-28,929
Midland RockHounds681263,0243868-343-19,122
Colorado Springs Sky Sox646262,6574104-104-2,438
Harrisburg Senators655259,24339885-3,629
Augusta GreenJackets637255,15540501,30776,886
New Orleans Baby Cakes664252,6143827-1,727-97,269
Columbia Fireflies673251,5863755-1,018-63,448
Wilmington Blue Rocks655249,7463842-319,069
Vancouver Canadians380239,0866292-11-441
Montgomery Biscuits700238,5383408-110,162
Potomac Nationals637237,2443766-1031,234
Bowie Baysox673230,3473438-15-4,442
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers655225,897347537-4,429
Binghamton Rumble Ponies628220,279355326429,514
Myrtle Beach Pelicans664219,5893327-260-13,537
Quad Cities River Bandits682215,0613163-123-14,945
Lake Elsinore Storm700214,955307117715,294
Chattanooga Lookouts673214,8113206254,863
Peoria Chiefs664208,2753156-18-4,384
Erie SeaWolves646205,0553204-146-9,339
Brooklyn Cyclones380202,495532913915,642
Lake County Captains664202,1243062-161-10,623
Delmarva Shorebirds655201,3293097-139-5,802
Spokane Indians380198,4235222-931,770
Gwinnett Stripers646195,9553062-73-14,120
Inland Empire 66ers700193,9922771-120-8,344
Salem Red Sox664192,6212919-392-22,623
Stockton Ports691187,9662724553,802
Great Lakes Loons655187,2202880-141-15,213
Clearwater Threshers682181,6862672-316-18,515
Carolina Mudcats664181,1222744-56-9,298
Bowling Green Hot Rods664178,3292702-153-1,510
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes700171,76724542145
Asheville Tourists6010170,3892840134-13,630
Biloxi Shuckers664160,3642430-142-6,787
Cedar Rapids Kernels682160,1652355-23-6,262
Lancaster JetHawks700155,5732222-196-13,664
Mississippi Braves673151,3522259-630-39,293
Hudson Valley Renegades371148,15640046220
San Jose Giants700147,6682110-258-15,705
Rome Braves646146,2762286-88-15,168
Modesto Nuts700145,0282072-36-2,534
Tri-City ValleyCats344140,036411936-2,886
Hillsboro Hops380130,2863429501,870
Ogden Raptors380129,285340224937
Boise Hawks380126,19233211254,737
Eugene Emeralds380125,967331518670
Hickory Crawdads664125,3941900-229-10,831
Visalia Rawhide700124,2081774-32-2,211
Fort Myers Miracle673123,8821849-1752,444
Aberdeen IronBirds353121,9073483-481-8,916
Clinton LumberKings673121,6781816-22376
Daytona Tortugas5911120,7282046-18-15,496
State College Spikes371119,9863243-4-3,415
Lowell Spinners353118,3193381-135-8,246
Down East Wood Ducks664116,8351770-255-28,945
West Virginia Power619112,2731841-216-21,406
Lynchburg Hillcats637112,2281781-303-25,338
Everett AquaSox380111,5992937381,438
Jackson Generals673110,7981654-121-9,897
Charlotte Stone Crabs638104,1931654-262-16,492
Idaho Falls Chukars371101,448274235210,632
St. Lucie Mets65598,8231520-485-33,536
Mahoning Valley Scrappers36297,2042700-297-10,690
Billings Mustangs35393,4662670-233-16,845
Pulaski Yankees33191,226276440413,346
Tri-City Dust Devils37186,283233257-178
Grand Junction Rockies38084,4162221714,869
Vermont Lake Monsters38083,9562209-1531,282
Bradenton Marauders67379,8741192-109543
Connecticut Tigers37275,8102049-1762,371
Staten Island Yankees35272,8942083431,493
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes38072,0941897-235-8,917
Tampa Tarpons65571,8351105-317-21,988
Mobile BayBears62869,5041121-377-23,394
West Virginia Black Bears38069,4301827-202-5,634
Jupiter Hammerheads65569,09510631731
Johnson City Cardinals31468,88122222463,679
Williamsport Crosscutters36268,47519021057,393
Missoula Osprey35365,9191883-10-6,017
Hagerstown Suns561464,9571160-220-19,224
Kannapolis Intimidators581264,688111535-4,424
Beloit Snappers63764,574102566338
Palm Beach Cardinals62864,0081032985,176
Burlington Bees62853,259859-189-13,785
Orem Owlz38051,0921345-168-4,889
Lakeland Flying Tigers591149,55184025-2,640
Greeneville Reds31348,021154941012,716
Great Falls Voyagers34447,6251401157365
Auburn Doubledays36243,3431204-77-2,789
Burlington Royals32136,5411142972,058
Danville Braves33134,766105412,132
Florida Fire Frogs551433,017600-482-24,307
Helena Brewers37131,086840-51-2,757
Dunedin Blue Jays68230,569450-123-8,387
Batavia Muckdogs37129,005784-221,616
Kingsport Mets32228,9289043-814
Princeton Rays31324,2087812456,518
Buies Creek Astros67324,068359-158-6,450
Bristol Pirates31221,941708371,128
Bluefield Blue Jays31320,018646-51-1,577
Elizabethton Twins29515,329529-57-3,417
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