Three Midwest League markets are ranked among the top ten regions for minor-league sports in a report released by Sports Business Journal on Monday.
The Quad Cities market, which includes the Midwest League’s Quad Cities River Bandits, Clinton LumberKings and Burlington Bees, is ranked No. 1. Fort Wayne, home of the TinCaps, is ranked third. Grand Rapids, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, is ranked 10th.
Each of those markets also includes minor-league teams in other sports. You can read how SBJ defines a market and compiled data about each one here.
“I have long said that the best fans in the world are right here in the Quad Cities, and having our market ranked the best minor-league sports market in the country is another validation of that,” River Bandits owner Dave Heller said.
To celebrate the ranking, the River Bandits are selling general admission tickets to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game for one dollar each. (UPDATE: Tuesday’s Quad Cities game was postponed due to rain, so the River Bandits will play a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The dollar deal remains in effect.)
Here are links to what SBJ wrote about the Quad Cities, Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids markets:
In addition to those three regions, two other Midwest League markets made the top 25. Peoria, home of the Chiefs, ranks No. 18, and Appleton, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, ranks No. 21.
Fourteen of the 16 Midwest League communities are included on the list of 212 minor-league markets, which you can see in its entirety here.
“It is no surprise so many of our clubs are mentioned in the Sports Business Journal list,” Midwest League President Dick Nussbaum said in a press release. “Our fans are going to our ballparks in record numbers this year. We hope as the summer comes to a close, everyone will take advantage of watching Midwest League baseball.”