sloan park mesa cubs marqueeFor years, we’ve been discussing the Cubs’ ability to draw massive crowds out to Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona.

From 2014 up to and through the end of Spring Training 2016, the Chicago Cubs have seemingly broken their own individual home and regular season attendance record game in and game out, as well as year in and year out.

This year, of course, is no different. The new, insanely impressive home attendance record for the Cactus League is 226,163, and it is held by your Chicago Cubs.

With 15 Spring Training games at Sloan Park this March (including two split squad games), the Cubs drew an average of 15,078 people per contest. That figure is well above league average for the Spring and is damn near close to a few major league teams’ attendance averages during the 2015 regular season:



  • Tampa Bay Rays: 15,322
  • Cleveland Indians: 17,361

So what is it about the Cubs that allow them to draw huge numbers?

It’s hard to say. I’m sure the relative weather advantage of Arizona/Chicago over, say, Arizona/Los Angeles is a huge part of the reason. A brand new stadium sure doesn’t hurt. And, of course, the large market fan base (of Chicago) has a lot to do with the attendance, as well. But more importantly, I’d argue, the heightened interest in Cubs prospects over the past few seasons has been a big draw for fans that can’t otherwise catch a game at AA Tennessee, or don’t feel like making a trip out to Iowa to watch the AAA Cubs.



In Arizona, fans get the opportunity to see the future on the field, before their very eyes. And, after 2015, fans learned that the “future” becomes the “present” very quickly, making a trip to Spring Training all the more exciting (the prospect of seeing short-term, future Major Leaguers just before their big league debut).

All in all, big attendance numbers are good for the team. It means increased revenue, sure, but it also indicates that interest in the franchise is alive and well. Of course, with a season as hyped as 2016, I would expect nothing less. Chicagoans love them some Cubbies baseball, be it at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, or out in the desert at Sloan Park.


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