Bandits '08 Attendance Surpasses 200,000
Attendance milestone reached for first time since 1996; Team records 5th highest average in history!
On Sunday, the Quad Cities River Bandits put the put the cherry on top of what has been a banner year in the history of Quad Cities baseball.
For just the seventh time in franchise history and the first time in 12 years, the Quad Cities baseball team has surpassed the 200,000-fan plateau for single-season attendance. All six previous accomplishments came during a seven-year stretch from 1990-1996, with the flood year of 1993 being the only exception.
“Since the day we took over control of this franchise we knew that we would be able to turn it around, but increasing total attendance by more than 50,000 and drawing more than 200,000 fans in our first season – especially when we lost 10 games to the rains and floods – brings a truly gratifying sense of accomplishment,” said team owner Dave Heller. “It is a testament to the tremendous fan support that exists here in the Quad Cities, as well as the hard work and dedication of the best front office team in Minor League Baseball.”
Heller’s ownership group, Main Street Iowa, purchased the team on November 29, 2007, and immediately began putting their imprint on the franchise. In addition to changing the name of the team back to River Bandits and signing a new naming rights agreement with Modern Woodmen of America, the organization showed a commitment to enhancing the fan experience by lowering ticket prices, revamping and improving the concessions menu, and adding a series of permanent additions to the ballpark that include the Jumer’s Casino and Hotel Hot Tub Deck, the Tiki Village, and the Crop Production Services Corn Field.
As a result of the ballpark additions, a renewed commitment to fan experience and guest services, and a revitalized culture throughout the organization, the 2008 season experienced a series of notable milestones.
The River Bandits hosted 6,822 fans at a June 10 win over the Peoria Chiefs, marking the organization’s largest single-game attendance total since 1999. One month later, Modern Woodmen Park welcomed 30,026 fans for a homestand during the first week of July, a seven-game stretch that outdrew the entire month of June in 2007 and was the busiest such period since the turn of the century. Then on July 31, the River Bandits surpassed the club’s 2007 attendance total of 148,773 in only 45 openings and with the entire month of August still remaining on the schedule.
Most impressive of all, the River Bandits have averaged 3,452 fans per game – the team’s fifth highest per-game average in the 77-year history of the ballpark.
“Reaching 200,000 for our total attendance and averaging more than three thousand fans per game were definitely among our top goals entering this season,” said Vice President/General Manager Kirk Goodman. “We lost more openings than any other team in the league due to the summer’s flooding and a very rainy spring, but to be able to stand here today and say we still reached this milestone brings a real sense of pride. All season long we have been overwhelmed by the amazing spirit of the Quad Cities community, and it’s a real thrill to be able to give them something to rally around. There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest baseball fans in the world live right here in the Quad Cities.”
Siblings Olivia and Tom Winter from Scales Mound, Illinois – ages seven and four respectively – received the distinction of being the 200,000th and 200,001st fans to pass through the gates on Sunday, attending the ballgame with their parents Dave and Tammy to enjoy a family outing on a U.S. Bank Family Sunday at Modern Woodmen Park. To show their appreciation to every fan that has attended a River Bandits game this season, the club recognized the Winter family on the field before the game and gave Olivia and Tom an autographed team jersey, a River Bandits prize pack, and two tickets to Opening Day in 2009.
“We’re very pleased with the accomplishments that have been achieved in year one, but we are certainly not content to sit back and rely on our momentum to carry us through 2009,” said co-owner Bob Herrfeldt. “We have already started planning for 2009 and with a full off-season ahead of us, we have big plans for next season. We have a clear message for our fans for next season: The fun has just begun!”