By Betsy Dolan
Despite the Sugar Land Skeeters being the “winningest” team in professional baseball in 2013, baseball ticket sales dropped slightly in 2013. But special event attendance at the two year old Constellation Field more than made up the difference.
A year-in-review report shows 479,656 people attended baseball games or events at the $36M ballpark in 2013, an increase of 55 percent over initial projections.
“This year we began to see an uptick in use by the community for non-baseball related events”, said Regina Morales, Director of Economic Development.
More than 88,000 people attended non-baseball related events in 2013. Some of those events included festivals, charity events, sports tournaments, company events and corporate meetings.
But attendance at Sugar Land Skeeters games dropped from 465,511 in 2012 to 390,726 in 2013–a decline of 16 percent. Average game attendance went from 6,650 to 5,503 in that same period.
“The first year is always a banner year and then you begin to see a leveling off”, Morales said. “When we polled other stadiums, they all experienced a 20-25% reduction in ticket sales”.
Morales said the Skeeters are still averaging in the top five for attendance and drew more fans than the Corpus Christi Hooks who have a similar size stadium.
A feasibility study performed in 2009 projected average annual attendance for ballgames and non-baseball events of 308,500 visitors. The increase in non-baseball related activities prompted the hiring of three full-time special event staff.
The ballpark also received two 2013 Houston Business Journal Landmark Awards in the Community Impact and Hospitality / Entertainment categories.
Constellation Field was funded with a portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes. City planners forecast an annual benefit to the city of $7.7 million or a return of $169 million to the economy over 30 years.