How the Rivercats Battled the Recession

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(West Sacramento, CA)
Monday, September 14, 2009
About 9,100 people – on average – passed through Raley Field’s gates for each game this year. That might not sound like much, when you compare it to crowds of 40,000 at San Francisco Giants games. But in the minors, that’s a lot – third highest in all of Minor League Baseball, and tops in the Pacific Coast League for the 10th year in a row.
Ledford: “We hoped to create as many options for people in terms of pricing and various other elements of our project that they have no choice but to come out again.”
That meant offering lots of new deals, says Rivercats President Alan Ledford -- from specials like “Kids Eat Free” to new, limited cheap seats that went on sale before every game. The team used a similar strategy for luxury suites and other group areas, working one-on-one with businesses to craft individual packages. But Ledford says it wasn’t easy.
Ledford: “The hospitality side of our business was generally the most challenging. Business came in later than expected; decisions were made later than what we have experienced in the past.”
Luxury suite sales were flat compared with last year. Other group areas dropped slightly. And overall, attendance is down 13 percent from 2005. Ledford says he expects most deals will return next season.