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After two years, IronPigs an unqualified success

An IronPigs game at Coca-Cola Park is the place to be if you're a Lehigh Valley resident — or just a baseball fan.Joe Finley, Craig Stein and Kurt Landes should be feeling pretty happy with the way their seasons ended, as Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) attendance reached 641,335 fans for the 2009 season –- the second-highest per-game average (9,162) in all of Minor League Baseball. The total represents a 6 percent increase over last year’s overall mark of 602,033 fans despite playing one less home game at Coca-Cola Park due to weather.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by the remarkable level of support we have received from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding regions since our inception,” says IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes. “Our passionate and loyal fans have made Coca-Cola Park the premier venue in all of Minor League Baseball and they should be very proud of that accomplishment.”

Dating back to July 3, every seat at Coca-Cola Park has been sold for 26 consecutive games for an average of 9,795 fans per contest. During the final four days of the year, the IronPigs drew a total of 40,000 to set an all-time series attendance record. We've already raved about Coca-Cola Park and how the IronPigs do business; the organization also received a great writeup in the local paper this week.

The only Minor League team to eclipse Lehigh Valley in average attendance was the Columbus Clippers (9,526), playing in the brand-new Huntington Park in downtown Columbus.

Since debuting Coca-Cola Park in 2008, the IronPigs have now drawn a noteworthy 1,243,368 fans to the foremost baseball and entertainment venue in the Minors. Since the franchise’s initiation a year ago, the team has averaged 8,818 per game – a number that significantly surpasses Coca-Cola Park’s fixed seating capacity of 8,089. Every seat in the ballpark has been sold for 77 percent (108 of 141) all-time regular season games – including a staggering 26 consecutive contests — with 37 all-time capacity crowds of 10,000.

Next year could be even better: the IronPigs will host the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 14 that will be televised live to a national audience on MLB Network for the first time ever. The Triple-A All-Star Game – played annually since 1988 – features the top players of all 30 Major League team’s top affiliates as the International League and the Pacific Coast League All-Stars square off in a head-to-head contest.

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