Spring training attendance, revenue down in Peoria, but so were games

San Diego Padres' Hunter Renfroe (#10) signs a ball for a fan before their game against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria. Spring training attendance at the venue went down this year but there were less games this year. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

Total attendance and revenues decreased at the Peoria Sports Complex for the 2018 spring training season compared with last year.

But so did the number of games.

Superintendent Mike Hyland said the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners spring offered a 30 game schedule this season, compared to 35 in 2017, which is reflected in the overall revenues. However, per game averages increased in all game day revenue categories.

Total attendance decreased 8.9 percent and total revenues decreased 8.6. But average attendance per game went up 2.8 percent.

“Under a new MLB player agreement, the first spring training game was on Feb. 23, the earliest ever before. This will be a new challenge for the foreseeable future. The Cactus League reported that the early start did affect the rest of the league, with all the other stadiums recording their lowest games were prior to March 1.”

A collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association included an additional four days off during the regular season for teams and  players, and as a result the spring training season started and ended earlier to accommodate for extra days needed for the regular season.

Last year’s five extra spring training games were due to the World Baseball Classic, which occurs every four years with an expansion of an additional five to seven games. Before this year, a typical spring training game schedule would start the first week of March and end the first day or two of April.

Additionally, the Mariners played a record 13 night games driven by a team performance study to research the “performance-related benefits players can derive by maintaining regular sleep patterns, and the desire to prepare them for the routine of regular season start times,” according to a news release.

Superintendent Blake Englert said the increase in night games, which were met with mixed reviews from fans, did not have a significantly measurable plus or minus impact on ticket sales.

“Those that prefer the traditional daytime environment of spring training were understandably disappointed, but other fans were pleased there were more games at night that fit their schedules with work and school,” he said.

The stadium placed sixth overall in average attendance for the third year in a row, a 3 percent increase over last year. Mr. Englert said the teams drew more than 200,000 for the fourth year in a row and for the 14th time in 25 seasons.

This year, the Peoria Sports Complex celebrated its 25 year anniversary, offering a number of promotions ranging from fan giveaways to appreciation days.  The venue’s Resident Rewards program that started last year and offers 25 percent off a limit of four tickets with proof of residency, increased 72 percent.

Mr. Englert said it was wonderful to see citizen’s ticket discount program have such tremendous growth in its second year.

“We expect it to continue to grow as more Peoria citizens become aware of it and seek out the offer when purchasing tickets to spring training,” he said.

Mariners vs. Padres
Here is a breakdown of attendance for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. Mariners
Games: 16
Total attendance: 118,851
Average per game: 7,428
Games: 14
Total attendance: 82,421
Average per game: 5,887
Source: City of Peoria


Spring training
The San Diego Padres and  Seattle Mariners had five less games this season. Attendance and revenues responded decreasing 8.9 percent and 8.6 percent respectively. However, average attendance went up 2.8 percent. The Peoria Sports Complex had the third-highest attendance for a two-team facility in the Cactus League this season, matching the ranking from 2017. Here is a breakdown of attendance and revenues for the last two years.
Games: 35
Total attendance: 227,646
Average attendance: 6,504
Ticket revenues: $4.3 million
Concession revenues: $2.4 million
Novelty revenues: $1.5 million
Parking revenues: $252,559
Advertising revenues: $357,512
Total revenues: $8.7 million
Games: 30
Total attendance: 201,272
Average attendance: 6,688
Ticket revenues: $3.9 million
Concession revenues: $2.2 million
Novelty revenues: $1.3 million
Parking revenues: $220,609
Advertising revenues: $302,107 Total revenues: $8 million
Source: City of Peoria


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