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MiLB attendance remains steady in ’09 despite economy

Per-game attendance in Minor League Baseball dropped slightly in 2009 –a pretty decent accomplishment given the economy.

Despite tough economic times, Minor League Baseball attendance remained strong in 2009. The 15 leagues and 176 clubs drew 41,644,518 patrons in 10,269 openings. The average crowd of 4,055 is only 2.9 percent (119 fans per game) less than last year, when the industry established its attendance record of over 43.2 million fans.

"Given the economic conditions in most of our cities, we look at the 2009 season as a solid season with many positives to point out,” said Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner. “New ballparks, individual club and league attendance records, great pennant races and outstanding player performances all make 2009 a season to remember.

“I am most proud of the way our clubs turned to their communities in ways to ease the pressures of the day and provide affordable family entertainment like never before. We feel like we have some of the best and most loyal fans in sports.  2009 shows why we can proudly say that,” added O’Conner.

The Midwest League established a new record for the third straight year. The California and Florida State Leagues also saw an overall increase in attendance this season. The FSL led the leagues that experienced larger crowds on average at 12.2 percent per opening, followed by the California (5.2 percent) and the International and Midwest at 0.4 percent. The New-York Penn League averaged 3,595 a game this year, the same as it did in 2008. Sixteen clubs set new season attendance marks.

Attendance by Leagues: International, 7,017,469; Pacific Coast, 7,133,386; South Atlantic, 3,690,958; Eastern, 3,694,397; Midwest, 3,629,038; Mexican, 3,079,774; Texas, 2,964,170; Southern, 2,284,201; New York-Penn, 1,786,735; California, 1,721,279; Carolina, 1,586,588; Florida State, 1,117,363; Northwest, 907,094; Pioneer, 721,942; Appalachian, 310,124.

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