The famous quote from the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” could apply to Las Vegas Ballpark, the new home of the Aviators.
“If you build it, he will come.”
Through 29 home games at the first-year stadium in Downtown Summerlin, the franchise leads minor league baseball in attendance — both in turnstile total and average among all 30 Triple-A teams.
“How can you beat a night at the ballpark,” Aviators fan Frank Aguilar said recently. “You’re talking $10 to $15 here at … one of the most beautiful (ballparks) in the country.”
Through Wednesday’s games, the team’s 276,957 attendance total and 9,550 average per game is more than Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, who are averaging 9,478.
The Aviators’ attendance also has been above nine of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 31 home dates.
“I feel bad for the Marlins, and I feel bad for the city of Miami,” Aviators president Don Logan said. “I’ve been there. It’s an unbelievably beautiful park. I don’t know that there’s a better park in terms of amenities.”
Logan, who for years lobbied for a new ballpark after the franchise played its first 36 seasons at Cashman Field, isn’t shy about his feelings for Las Vegas Ballpark.
“It’s an unfortunate situation (the Marlins) are going through right now, and we’re on the opposite end of that right now,” Logan said. “Things are so good here, we’re in the best part of the Las Vegas Valley. We have the best stadium, certainly in minor league baseball and probably the best stadium in baseball.”
With 22 sellouts (through Wednesday’s game) as proof, Aguilar couldn’t agree more with Logan.
“I brought a client here last week from Canada, and he thought he was at a (major league) game,” Aguilar said.
And, as far as Logan is concerned, the best is yet to come.
“What we’ve built at Las Vegas Ballpark is a venue that I think is going to stand the test of time, because we created so many different reasons for people to come to a game,” he said.
It’s all part of an attendance boom in minor league baseball. In 2018, MiLB surpassed 40 million fans for the 14th straight year.
The Las Vegas Triple-A franchise has reached at least 300,000 in home attendance in all 36 years in the valley. At its current pace, it will more than double that figure this season.
“We are the hottest city in the country right now for sports,” Aguilar said. “The Lights, Aces, Aviators, Raiders — we’ve got them coming.”
Terrell Emerson covers the Aviators for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the five largest home attendance figures for a season for the Las Vegas Triple-A franchise since its first season of 1983:
1992 — 387, 815 (72 dates; 5,386 average)
1993 — 386,310 (71; 5,441)
2008 — 374, 780 (71; 5,279)
2007 — 371, 676 (72; 5,162)
1983 — 365, 848 (75; 4,878)