On Monday, the Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League) set a franchise record for total attendance in a single season. That record was broken when the 283,039th fan entered the ballpark, surpassing the previous high of 283,038 that was set in 2014.
The team came into Monday evening’s contest needing just 941 fans to break that barrier, and have averaged 4,340 guests over 65 openings in 2016. Should that number hold over the final two games of the regular season, it would mark the third consecutive season that the Smokies have averaged over 4,000 fans in a single season. The first time it occured was back in the initial record-breaking 2014 campaign.
“It’s another testament to our great fans in East Tennessee,” said Smokies’ President and COO Chris Allen. “I am always amazed at the constant support we receive and the great baseball knowledge our fans show every night. We are honored to bring a high quality product to our loyal fans 70 nights a year.”
This year marks the third-straight record-breaking season for the Smokies in terms of attendance. In 2015, the organization set a franchise-mark for average attendance, drawing 4,406 fans per contest.
Prior to 2014, the Smokies’ single-season attendance record was set back in 2002 when the organization welcomed 268,033 fans through the gates. That year marked just the third season in Smokies Stadium history.
Since beginning play at Smokies Stadium at the start of the 2000 campaign, Tennessee has welcomed 4,435,762 fans through their gates entering Monday evening.
Tracy Harrell, the 283, 039th fan of the season, is greeted by the Smokies. Image courtesy of the Tennessee Smokies.