How Minor League Baseball Stadiums Boost Local Economies

How Minor League Baseball
Stadiums Boost Local Economies

With 14 different leagues and 206 teams nationwide, minor league baseball continues to make its mark on local communities across the country.

There’s both incentive and opportunity behind those impressive numbers. Local minor league baseball games provide more than just a fun, family-friendly outing. When intentionally planned, minor league baseball stadiums provide tremendous economic impact to the cities they’re located in as well as grow excitement for the sport in otherwise untapped regions. 

Read on to discover:

  • How minor league baseball grew in popularity
  • Overall economic impact of minor league baseball
  • How minor league baseball stadiums and local sponsors benefit each other
  • Positive infrastructure development related to local baseball stadiums

If You Build It, They Will Come: The Surge of Minor League Baseball

Post World War II, American citizens were hungry for baseball to boost camaraderie and morale. An abundance of skilled players returning back to the United States after the war paired with developments in integration resulted in a myriad of new baseball teams around the country.

In response to a country hungry for baseball, minor league baseball reached its height in 1949 and consisted of 448 teams in 59 leagues.

Even though minor league baseball hasn’t reached those same numbers since 1949, it continues to evolve and play an important role in American entertainment as well as the obvious developmental outlet it provides for the MLB. 

In fact, in the year 2024, 37 states currently have minor league baseball teams, with some states having multiple teams. (Florida has 12!)

In major cities, there are often plenty of entertainment options to choose from, including major league sports. But in smaller and more isolated cities, minor league baseball may be the only show in town— which ultimately drives a strong sense of dedication and belonging. 

In a country as large as the United States, there are hundreds of smaller cities and towns eager for the entertainment, family-friendly fun, and togetherness that minor league baseball provides.

Overall Local Economic Impact of Minor League Baseball Stadiums

The overall economic impact of minor league baseball can depend on the rank of the league. For example, in her 2010 PhD dissertation, Dr. Nola Agha, a professor of sports management at the University of San Francisco, found that the presence of a AAA or A+ minor league team increased per-capita income in the applicable city by $67 per year. 

Other research has shown that markets with a minor league baseball team also boast significantly lower unemployment rates

Plus, the best thing about minor league baseball stadiums? They aren’t just for baseball.

One of the biggest economic perks for smaller cities and towns is that minor league baseball stadiums have a purpose beyond only hosting baseball games. The stadiums can also be used to host:

  • Spring training and college baseball teams
  • Weddings
  • Corporate events
  • Even local marching band competitions!

If minor league baseball is one of the few local entertainment options in a particular city and the stadium is one of the few venues to host an event, residents are often inspired to spend their time and money in their homebase, rather than traveling to a different city to spend their money elsewhere.

The presence of a local entertainment option and event venue encourages residents to contribute to their local economy, which ultimately encourages positive economic growth.

Mutual Benefit of Local Sponsors & Stadiums

Other local businesses also see a positive economic impact thanks to minor league baseball stadiums. Since minor leagues rely on sponsorships to contribute to their revenue, partnerships with the brands that engage in those activations go a long way.

Local brands that fans are already familiar with provide a big opportunity for minor league baseball teams to own a slice of the action by partnering with them throughout the season. In return, these activations build brand affinity and loyalty for the sponsors among ballpark fans – a mutually beneficial and lucrative relationship. 

In the culture of small town America, residents in neighboring cities and towns often travel to nearby areas for entertainment. So, if a minor league baseball game is attracting visitors from out of town, local sponsors also achieve economic gain thanks to their sponsorship.

Related Urban Redevelopment & Infrastructure Growth

The presence of minor league baseball stadiums boosts job creation, local entertainment spending, and visibility for other local small businesses. 

But wait, there’s more!

In a 2013 study, Dr. Nola Agha (remember her from before?) found that the location of a minor league baseball stadium can also encourage local property development. A stadium can act as a centerpoint for additional entertainment destinations, new land development, and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, stadiums provide an aesthetically pleasing landmark for visitors and locals to rally around. 

When planned strategically and considered carefully, it’s clear that minor league baseball stadiums are an economic gift that keep on giving to smaller and more isolated communities that need it most.

Make the Most Out of Your Minor League Baseball Team

It’s clear that minor league baseball teams have opportunities to create valuable sponsorship and ticketing partnerships to encourage the growth of local economies. One thing minor league teams often have in common is that they’re working to accomplish these goals with smaller staff sizes and more limited resources compared to the major leagues.

So how do these traditionally smaller teams keep up with the “big leagues”?

Leaders in minor league baseball who perform at the highest levels rely on the DIGIDECK presentation platform for dynamic sales proposals, virtual game day programs, ticketing opportunities, and sponsorship recaps. 

If you’re curious to learn more about how DIGIDECK can help your minor league baseball team accomplish more in less time and with less staff, reach out to schedule a free 30 minute demo. Join teams like the Nashville Sounds, Sugar Land Space Cowboys, and Oklahoma City Dodgers as you continue to encourage local economic growth with support from DIGIDECK.

Hear it straight from the source and check out our MiLB case study!

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