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Bandits reach highest attendance level in a decade

More evidence that baseball is back in downtown Davenport: the Quad Cities River Bandits tallied their highest attendance mark in more than a decade.

More evidence that baseball is back in downtown Davenport: the Quad Cities River Bandits (Low Class A; Midwest League) tallied their highest attendance mark in more than a decade.

In 64 home dates, the River Bandits averaged 3,694 fans per game and drew a total attendance of 236,401. Both marks were the highest figures achieved since 1995. The average attendance hits the record books as the third highest in franchise history, while the total attendance checks in at fifth all-time. Total attendance increased by 14 percent from 2008 to 2009, marking the second consecutive season the Quad Cities River Bandits produced a double-digit percent increase in that area.

That means that in a span of just two years, attendance for Quad Cities River Bandits baseball games has increased by 64 percent on a per-game basis (2,254 to 3,694) and 59 percent on a season-long basis (148,773 to 236,401).

“When we took over control of this franchise, we knew that this vibrant community and excellent market were full of great potential,” said team owner Dave Heller. “People here love baseball and love a good time. They wanted to take pride in their baseball team, but that opportunity had been denied them. Now the fun is back, the fans are back, and it’s just great to see people enjoying baseball in the Quad Cities again. It is a testament to the great fans, the great community, and the best front office staff in all of baseball that we have achieved such tremendous success in such a short time. But, rest assured, we’re not looking back; we’re looking forward – and next year’s going to be bigger and more fun than ever before.”

The impressive accomplishments of the 2009 season are notable for a variety of reasons. In addition to finding success at the gates despite a down economy, the River Bandits were able to improve upon a 2008 campaign that produced one of the most prolific attendance increases in the history of the franchise. In the first year following an ownership change, the newly rebranded River Bandits increased per-game attendance by 56 percent and total attendance by 39 percent in 2008 despite having to contend with two significant floods from the Mississippi River.

As the end-of-year numbers in 2009 indicate, however, attendance soared even higher this summer. On July 3, a crowd of 7,538 marked the highest single-game attendance since the turn of the century. It was one of three crowds that eclipsed the 7,000-fan plateau and eight that drew more than 6,000 fans. Quad Cities broke the 200,000-fan mark on August 17, a full two weeks earlier than in 2008 when the milestone was not reached until August 31. Then on August 20, with six games still remaining on the 2009 schedule, the River Bandits surpassed the total attendance of 207,048 reached in 2008.

“We run this operation with very high standards and set lofty goals for ourselves, but even so it’s amazing to reflect on the last two seasons and see a 59 percent increase in total attendance,” said Vice President and General Manager Kirk Goodman. “Still, we will always strive to improve our numbers and the quality of the experience for our guests. We have already begun planning new promotions, attractions and entertainment for next season. Quad Cities baseball fans have come to expect nothing short of the best show in town when they visit Modern Woodmen Park, and the show is going to be even bigger and better next season.”

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