Despite a stellar record on the field and some solid promotions on the schedule, the Brevard County Manatees are struggling to attract fans. Is the market the issue?
Despite a stellar record on the field and some solid promotions on the schedule, the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League) are struggling to attract fans. Is the market the issue?
There are times in this world when you can do everything right and still fail. That may be the case in Viera, where the Brevard County Manatees are drawing only 1,223 fans a game to Space Coast Stadium. That's more than the team drew in 2008, but far less than the team did at the beginning of the decade.
The bad economy may have something to do with it — even "affordable" activities like a Manatees game come under scrutiny in the family budget these days — but we have our own theory: Viera is just a bad, bad market.
The money in the Manatees market lies predominantly with retirees. And let's face it: retirees on the whole just don't pay for minor-league baseball.
The Manatees ownership doesn't want to discuss any moves to Palm Bay or the greater Orlando area — both of which have been discussed, but neither is on the horizon — but it's starting to be clear Viera may not be the best market for the team in the long term.
Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see features before they're posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.