It’s been a slow start to the season for the Sioux City Explorers (independent; American Association), as only 1,177 fans are showing up nightly at Lewis and Clark Park.
That number ranks last in the American Association; it’s also about half of what the second-to-last team, the Sioux Falls Pheasants, are drawing per game (2,200) and certainly not close to a break-even point in the travel-heavy circuit.
It’s been a disappointing past few years for owner John Roost and crew: Sioux City was one of the best markets in the old Northern League, but attendance has gradually declined in recent years. Part of the decline has to do with a slump in the local economy — there’s no tech giant like Gateway anymore, though there are still major employers like Tyson operating in the Iowa community — and maybe fans have started to take the Explorers for granted. If there’s no demand and bountiful supply, there’s no rush to get to the ballpark.
Things will, of course, pick up in July, when the Explorers traditionally draw. But starting out in such a hole doesn’t make things easier for the front office.
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