The recently-released rankings of the top minor-league markets in the United States by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal have a decided ECHL flavor as five of the list's top 10 markets are home to an ECHL team.
Leading the way for ECHL markets is the Quad Cities (Moline-Rock Island, Ill. and Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa), home to the Quad City Mallards. The Mallards have averaged at least 3,900 fans in each of their three seasons in the ECHL while advancing to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each season. The Quad Cities were the top-ranked minor-league market in the United States when the rankings were last compiled in 2015.
Fort Wayne, which earned the top spot during the second year of ratings in 2007, was rated as the third best market this year followed by Charleston, which moved up one spot in the rankings. Toledo, which was rated the top market in 2013 and second in 2015, came in fifth, while Greenville was ranked ninth, marking the first time that city has earned a spot in the top 10, and moving up from 34th in 2015.
Other ECHL markets rated in the top 50 markets in the country include Allen (12th), Norfolk (26th), Loveland (28th), Fort Myers-Estero (38th) and Wheeling (41st).
This is the seventh 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.
For additional, detailed information about how the ratings were calculated visit www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.