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Crowds won't be as large at old site

October 14, 2000

Crowds won't be as large at old site



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Building a new stadium at the site of Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium instead of near a highway halves the projected increase in attendance, Hagerstown Suns owner Winston Blenckstone said.

In cities where a stadium was built at a new site, game attendance generally doubles, he said.

"It's typically 50 percent at the old site," Blenckstone said.

But Blenckstone said the smaller increase in attendance would be enough "to get us over the hump."

A new stadium along the highway would "be easier to sell, but it's very obvious that's just not going to happen."

Blenckstone asked for a new stadium in part because he believes it would increase attendance, which was about 102,500 last season.

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The $15 million plan to build a new stadium at the existing site calls for demolishing the existing grandstands and building a new seating area, fixing flooding problems and adding parking spaces.

David Blenckstone, Suns general manager and Winston's son, researched three cases where teams in the Suns Class A South Atlantic League built new stadiums without moving to a new location.

According to his research, which he said came from league statistics:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Augusta, Ga., GreenJackets opened a new stadium before the 1995 season.

Team attendance during the three years before the new stadium opened was 104,736. Attendance since it opened is averaging 156,079 a year, about a 49 percent increase.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Asheville, N.C., Tourists opened a new stadium before the 1992 season.

Team attendance during the three years before the new stadium opened was 104,998. Attendance since it opened is averaging 137,216 a year, about a 30 percent increase.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Capital City Bombers in Columbia, S.C., opened a new stadium before the 1992 season.

Team attendance during the three years before the new stadium opened was 88,270. Attendance since it opened is averaging 138,137 a year, about a 56 percent increase.

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