The move to the Carolina League hasn’t impacted the Carolina Mudcats, according to team officials: attendance may be down, but weather played a large part in the decline.
In 2010 Mudcats owner Steve Bryant sold his Class AA Southern League franchise to Quint and Rishy Studer, who moved the franchise to Pensacola and purchased the Kinston Indians (High Class A; Carolina League), moving the franchise but keeping the Mudcats name and logo. For fans, the move down meant a lower level of play; for Bryant, it meant a lower operating cost. And while attendance is down this season, GM Joe Kremer attributes the drop more to weather than to the move down in classification.
Also, attendance is down for the fourth straight season. Carolina was averaging 3,363 fans per night through 59 games, down from 3,699 last season and a franchise-high 4,073 fans per night in 2008.
Kremer said the drop in attendance stemmed completely from the weather and not the change in classification of play (dropping from Double-A to High Single-A). And while overall attendance is down, attendance from the eastern half of the Mudcats’ fan base is up this year, he said.
“We’ve been really pleased with how the year’s gone, even as tough of a weather year as it’s been,” Kremer said. “We can’t remember a year where we’ve had home weather quite like this. If we didn’t have thunderstorms, it was 100 degrees plus.”
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