Some great attendance news on Canada Day, as the Vancouver Canadians (Short Season A; Northwest League)–MiLB’s only team north of the border–continue to attract fans in droves.
When it comes to attendance, the Canadians are one of the most formidable clubs in the Northwest League. The club has improved upon its attendance totals in every season since 2006, and entered today’s action with a per-game average of 5,623, just 10 fans behind the top-drawing Spokane Indians.
The Canadians have an advantage with the Vancouver market, with the most recent census figures showing that the Vancouver Metropolitan Area is home to more than 2,000,000 residents. Yet the area’s size is not the lone factor, as the Canadians have a plan that attracts fans to Nat Bailey Stadium based on entertainment and affordability. More from CBC News:
Canadians’ president Andy Dunn says affordability is extremely important, especially in a city facing a housing affordability crisis.
“You want to keep it fresh. You want to keep people entertained whether you come to one game, five games or 38 games,” Dunn said.
“You can afford to come to multiple times over the course of the season … you can bring your wife and your children out to the ballpark and it’s not going to cost you your mortgage.”
The CBC delves into the question of whether Vancouver could once again house a Triple-A team as it did from 1978-1999. Dunn, however, makes some good points about why the team’s success in the Northwest League outweighs the financials of that move :
“Yeah, we’ve looked at it. It’s a big cost factor when you just factor in cost of the franchise,” Dunn said.
“To acquire a Triple-A franchise it’ll cost anywhere from $20 million to $25 million then you’re probably going to have to put $10 million into Nat Bailey, so now you’re looking at a $35 million to $40-million investment.”
The Canadians have been diligent about sprucing up Nat Bailey Stadium in recent years. Before last season, the Canadians installed a new covered group seating area in left field, made additional improvements to the left field bleacher units, and enhancements to the bullpens, outfield fences, and concessions. Nat Bailey Stadium has also changed drastically on the outside, with murals from Jennifer Ettinger having been installed in recent years.
The Canadians have also been lauded for their customer service in the past, allowing the team to compete with several other sports and entertainment options in the area. With that formula, it is easy to foresee the Canadians as a continued success.