Just ahead of their second season at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) are reporting a significant spike in season ticket sales.
After construction delays to the ballpark prevented them from playing there in 2016, the Yard Goats debuted at Dunkin’ Donuts Park last season. The club’s first year at the downtown Hartford ballpark proved to be a success, with the Yard Goats selling out 41 of 68 home games and averaging 5,812 fans per game.
That success on the attendance front was a major factor in the Yard Goats winning Ballpark Digest Team of the Year, and it appears that the club is ready to build on that success this year. The club is reporting an increase in season ticket sales by 24%, and is also preparing to unveil several new features at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. More from The Hartford Courant:
Instead, fans appear to be ready to return in droves, with season ticket sales up by 24 percent, including many people who switched from 18-game to 70-game plans. The team will begin its second season of playing home games in Hartford this Thursday with an expected standing-room-only crowd of 6,064 .
“I thought 10 percent would have been good growth,” team president Tim Restall said. “I think it was a combination of the satisfaction with the event and more people in offices asking their employers for tickets, especially suite holders,” Restall said, adding that it became much harder for people to buy tickets to games at the 6,000-seat ballpark toward the end of July and August because the games were sold out in advance.
In 2016 the Yard Goats had to play their entire first season on the road as a result of construction delays and cost overruns on the $70 million publicly financed stadium. Despite the success of last year, Restall said the team spent the winter working on making improvements to the ballpark and to the fan experience. They include new seats in the Budweiser bar in center field and a 30-seat party deck on the roof of the short porch in right field.
The team has also replaced the netting in front of the right field stands with something less visible and expanded the protective netting that runs along the first and third base lines.
The Yard Goats will open their season at Dunkin’ Donuts park on April 5, when they host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.