The recently-released rankings of the top minor-league markets in the United States by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal have a decided ECHL slant as each of the top five markets in the rankings are home to an ECHL team.
At the top of the list is the Quad Cities (Moline-Rock Island, Ill. and Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa), home to the Quad City Mallards. Last season, in their first as a Member of the ECHL, the Mallards averaged just under 4,000 fans per game. At the time the rankings were released, the team had renewed 87 percent of their season tickets and had almost hit its target of a 25 percent increase in overall season-ticket revenue over last season.
The Mallards’ home venue, the iWireless Center, has seen extensive renovations since the end of the 2014-15 season, and hosts the team’s home opener this weekend.
This is the sixth time that SportsBusiness Journal has produced its rankings of the top minor-league markets in the country. Each market’s score is the result of three category-specific measures: tenure rank, attendance rank and economic rank.
Coming in second in this year’s rankings was Toledo, which was rated the top market during the last set of ratings in 2013. Fort Wayne, which earned the top spot during the second year of ratings in 2007, was rated the third best market this year, followed by Tulsa and Charleston.
Other ECHL markets rated in the top 50 markets in the country include Boise (25th), Greenville (34th) and Fort Myers-Estero (42nd).
For additional, detailed information about how the ratings were calculated visit www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.