Fangraphs observed that the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League cracked the top 25 this year for average attendance among non-MLB franchises (see A Collegiate Summer Team Outdrew Most of the Minors). The Mallards’ average attendance per game was higher than many Minor League Baseball AAA franchises from the International League and Pacific Coast League.
Ballpark Digest has the complete stats: 2018 MiLB/SC/Indy Attendance by Average (search for CCL to see the Cape teams). Chatham and Hyannis finished in the top 200.
CodBall recently observed that attendance overall at summer league games increased slightly on the Cape this past year. Also, we noted that the Northwoods League, in particular, seems to have a recipe for success.
It’s exciting that collegiate summer ball franchises have the potential to attract more fans than professional minor league franchises. The statistics seem to indicate that many markets may have been deemed unsuitable for MiLB or independent leagues, yet still have a lot of fans that want to see high-quality baseball - at least in the summer months!
For the Cape League, attendance probably isn't likely to shift too much. Cape Cod is a popular tourist destination and also a bucket list trip for hardcore baseball fans, but it is not a significant market. What's compelling is if the product that the Cape League has could work in an online streaming format or via cable sports networks. In our last post, we mentioned that the former skipper for the Wareham Gatemen, Don Sneddon, thought television coverage of the playoffs could be a revenue stream for the league.