Low attendance continues to be a concern for the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League), and the team is looking for solutions.
One of the reasons that the Atlanta Braves relocated the franchise from Richmond before the 2009 season was to improve player development operations, as the move to Atlanta’s suburbs reduced the logistical complications of shuffling players between levels. Still, there was some hope that the market would produce stronger numbers than it has and that Coolray Field would become a hub for mixed-use development.
The crowds have never quite taken off at the ballpark. The G-Braves are facing a third consecutive season of declining per-game average attendance, and currently rank last in that category in the 14-team International League. Though the slide is frustrating for team officials, general manager North Johnson says that the club is continuing to look for ways to reverse the trend. More from the Gwinnett Daily Post:
Next season, the team will move up slightly the start of Saturday and Sunday games.
“We’ve tried about everything,” Johnson said. “All of the current trends of what you’re supposed to do in minor league baseball we’re doing. The people come out and they say they had a great time. But even then, they don’t always come back.
“The things that make Gwinnett great are also what helps make it challenging for us. There are great recreation parks, so much to do. Gwinnett isn’t a county of watchers. It is a county of doers with a lot going on. But I’ll always be an optimist. We just have to find our place.”
Atlanta is certainly a saturated market when it comes to sports, and it will be interesting to see what affect–if any–the opening of SunTrust Park for the Atlanta Braves next season has on the G-Braves.