Charleston RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols looks around the field at Riley Park and wonders what might have been this season.
Greenville Drive vs. Charleston RiverDogs
When: Tuesday (7:05 p.m.); Wednesday (7:05 p.m.); Thursday (6:35 p.m.)
Where: Riley Park
Affiliations: Greenville (Boston Red Sox); Charleston (New York Yankees).
Echols can't help himself, he's a bottom line kind of guy.
RiverDogs' home attendance for the last five years:
Year Dates Total Average
2014 62 266,198 4,294
2013 66 283,274 4,292
2012 67 254,002 3,791
2011 67 265,465 3,962
2010 69 269,023 3,899
With the final homestand of 2014 slated to start Tuesday night against the Greenville Drive (7 p.m.), the RiverDogs are on pace to have one of their best seasons financially in recent memory.
Going into the final three games, the RiverDogs are averaging 4,294 fans. If the RiverDogs can maintain that average through Thursday night, the final home game, it would be the highest per game attendance in the last decade. A year ago, the RiverDogs averaged 4,292 fans a game. The RiverDogs have been fourth in attendance in the 14-team South Atlantic League the past two seasons.
"The 2014 season has been fantastic," Echols said. "From a revenue standpoint we've been able to generate to the tremendous fan support, it's been one of the best summers we've had. It's been great, but the thing that bothers me is that it could have been better had the weather cooperated."
Echols is always looking to improve the product and fan experience, but he knows he can't control mother nature. A wet and hot second half of the season conspired against the RiverDogs.
It started the first day of the season when the RiverDogs' opening night festivities were rained out. Normally, opening night is a sellout and generates more revenue than any other game during the season.
"Right out of the gate we had issues with the weather," Echols said. "Opening night is one of the most highly anticipated games of the season for us. The only other night that competes with it is July 4. You can't get that enthusiasm or momentum back from opening night. If we had a normal opening night, I think we'd be even further ahead of where we were a year ago."
In a typical season, the RiverDogs will have two to three rainouts, plus two or three additional games that are played but still affected by the weather. To date, the RiverDogs have had six rainouts and at least four more games affected by either rain or extreme heat.
"The weather has hit us hard, especially in the second half of the season," Echols said. "We've probably had double the amount of games affected by weather than we normally do and that's going to hurt you from a revenue standpoint."
Echols has tried not to dwell on the negatives or the 'what might have been' scenarios as the season has come to a close.
"The ownership group that we have in place just doesn't allow you to do that," Echols said. "They want everyone thinking about the good things that have happened for us and like I said, it's been a great year."
Echols said the new half-million dollar new video scoreboard has paid huge dividends.
"It's one of the biggest and best scoreboards in minor league baseball and I think it's helped enhance the fan experience," he said.
The RiverDogs emphasis on the surrounding communities has also been a hit with the fan base.
"On the weekends, we've tried to recognize the communities from all around the Lowcountry from Mount Pleasant to Summerville," Echols said. "It's been a really successful promotion and the fans have seemed to enjoy it."