Grizzlies winning streak improves attendance

FRESNO, Calif.

We'll when this ballpark was completed in 2002 it cost the city of Fresno and its taxpayers $46 million to construct.

Many are still skeptical the move won't pay dividends but having a winning team looks like it's helping to pay the bills.

It's game day at the "Chuk" and people are lining up to watch their Fresno Grizzlies battle it out for first place in the PCL.

A winning team is also leading to improved attendance numbers.

In 2009 a total of 480,000 plus went to a grizzlies game.

This year's numbers are on pace to break that mark by 5 percent with more than 500,000 fans.

The city also gets a dollar for every ticket sold in addition to the rent which is $1.5 million annually.

But there's still room for improvement, games average 7,000 fans a night in a stadium that holds 12,500.

"It's not a place for taxpayer money should go. It's built though, so no sense in crying over spoiled milk," Chris Mathys said.

Mathys is with the Fresno Taxpayers Association and voted against the stadium when he was a member of the city council.

He says it's important for those who supported it then to step up to the plate now.

"I mean if you believe in the stadium and you want a triple-A venue in Fresno you've got to show up and support the team. And I think that's the problem they're having is that the same people who wanted it so bad are now not going to the games."

That's Scott Carter's mission to complete.

He's the team's senior VP of marketing and says there's plenty of room to grow the team's fan base.

"I think there's people in Fresno that have still never been to a Grizzlies game. So for us that's our challenge is getting people to the ballpark for the first time. Once we get you in the gates the first time you're going to have a good time and you're going to come back," Carter said.

The city also gets added revenue from the Fuego soccer team as well as added concerts and private events held during the off season.

But it's obvious when the Grizzlies do well, the future of this ballpark remains bright.

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