From the DDN:

Awards now come annually for the franchise, which begins its seventh season April 6. The latest was bestowed by The Sporting News, which named (Bob) Murphy (President of the Dragons) the minor league executive of the year for 2005.

Remember, this is a team that has finished last 3 years in a row.

The sellouts streak — counting playoff games, the 2001 Midwest League All-Star Game and games transferred from other cities undergoing stadium rehab — stands at 427 straight games.

Again, remember, this is a team that has finished last 3 years in a row.

In every previous year of operation, the Dragons have not only led the Midwest League in attendance, but Class A baseball. It also is the only Class A franchise to have finished in minor-league baseball’s top 10 attendance leaders every single year of its existence, a lone Class A among the Class AAA and Class AA teams in bigger cities.

I think this is pretty amazing and a tribute to the atmosphere that there is at 5th 3rd Field. As the article states, the Dragons have no control over the on-field product, that’s all controlled by the Reds, but they sure work to make sure you have a wonderful time at their facility.

And they care about the fans…

“We still believe we’re offering a great product at a great price,” said Murphy, scoffing at the idea that ticket prices are too high, about $11 a seat if individual tickets were available, which mostly they aren’t because of a high volume of season-ticket holders. “The greatest testimony is we have a 90-percent renewal rate.”
That’s not all. Murphy and his staff painstakingly track empty seats, calling ticket holders to find out why they didn’t attend certain games. The Dragons do not release actual in-house fan totals, but with poor teams, plenty of seats go unused.
“We always want to see people in the seats,” Murphy said. “If we find someone has a 70- or 35-game plan and isn’t using all the tickets, we suggest they get a 17-game plan. Lots of people convert 70-game plans for 35-game plans. We monitor the accounts. We sit down and coach people on how to use their tickets.”

If you ever get the chance to catch the Dragons, don’t miss the opportunity. The way they treat their fans will make you wish the Reds front office was as sharp about dealing with their fans.

5 Responses

  1. greg

    A lot of those folks aren’t making the trek down to GABP like they used to…

  2. Jim McCullough

    Fire John Allen and put Murphy in charge of the business end of the Reds. He obviously knows how to get people to come to the ball park.

  3. Chris

    They do a great job in Dayton, but I’m not sure it translates to the major league experience. The biggest drawing cards for Dragons games are:
    1. It’s really convenient. Free parking abounds and there’s no traffic, in our out.
    2. It’s cheap.
    3. It’s a circus. There’s music, contests, videos, and a number of MCs running around the place non-stop. I really don’t know if you could watch the game, if you were so inclined.
    4. The ballpark is very cool.

    I think exactly one of these things (item #4) could translate to the Reds. Jim may still be right, and Murphy & Co. might be able to achieve similar results at the big league level.

  4. Bill

    Chris…I have to disagree with you on a number of points.

    – Free parking abounds? Where? Not close. Close to the park there are tons of pay lots, all reasonably priced, but the on-street parking near the ball park is limited.

    – Cheap? Compared to what? Not other minor league games. Tickets for the Dragons, when you can get them, run about $11 on an average. For the Florida State League, I think the max ticket is $6.

    – Circus? The Reds use music, videos, games on the scoreboard. I do agree about the MC’s, they’re pretty awful.

    But I don’t think it detracts from the game at all. None of what you’re talking about goes on while the game is taking place.

  5. Chris

    I’ve only been to a couple games, so you obviously know more about it than I do. My parents have a 17-game pack (I think), so the parking thing comes from them. Maybe my dad just has a secret spot – I know he never pays, and he parks a lot closer there than he does for Reds games.

    The circus comment was from my own game. Maybe the Reds do as much (again, I’ve only been to GABP twice), but it certainly wasn’t as circus-like, to me. Maybe it’s just that you’re so much closer at 5/3, so everything seems more intense.

    As for cost, I agree that it’s more expensive than most A-ball, but the (off-field) product is also miles ahead. A Dragons game is basically like going to a great AA or a decent AAA organization, albeit in a smaller park. My point was that it’s significantly cheaper than a Reds game, and comparable to the movies or a dinner at Olive Garden. It still serves as the kind of “family entertainment” that most people can do semi-regularly, as opposed to sinking $200 into a night at GABP. (I know you can get to a Reds game for less, but you have to make an effort to be economical).