Dragons Sell Out Fifth Third Field for Historic 815th Consecutive Time
DAYTON, OH - With its 815th consecutive sold-out crowd at Fifth Third Field, the Dayton Dragons today broke the all-time record for most consecutive home game sellouts. Founded in 2000, the Class-A Midwest League minor league baseball team and a Cincinnati Reds affiliate has sold out every home game for 11 ½ straight seasons and counting, breaking the 18-year old record of pro basketball's Portland Trailblazers (814, 1977-95).
"Our organization is very proud of this historic achievement - for our fans who are the ones buying tickets and fueling this unprecedented sellout streak, for the community of Dayton, a city that through a challenging economic climate has shown incredible resilience and has adopted the Dragons since day one, for our Dayton Dragons employees, and for our ownership group," said Robert Murphy, President, Dayton Dragons. "This city's love affair with the team is really something special."
Owned and operated by Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC, the Dragons aimed high from the moment they arrived in Dayton. The challenge by ownership was simple: be first class and professional, fulfill every promise and obligation, build something for the long term, rather the short term, differentiate the organization, and create a love affair.
Mandalay's unique approach to managing the club was very much like that of a small business, complete with a five-point strategy: offer affordable products, ensure quality family entertainment, become a true part of the community, develop impactful corporate sponsorship programming and above all else, provide unsurpassed customer service.
"When we arrived in Dayton in 1999, developing a long-term strategy and staying committed to that strategy was critical," said Art Matin, Chief Executive Officer, Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC. "Minor League Baseball - especially at the Single-A level - means high player turnover, which makes it challenging for fans to get behind individual members of the team for an extended period of time. It also creates obstacles for our ballclub to stay competitive from a wins and losses perspective. We needed to create a culture of greatness that made the Dayton Dragons sports-entertainment experience first class and professional in every way possible."
To deliver on its customer service promise, Mandalay Baseball deployed a Disney-like training program for employees entitled "Dragons University" that reinforced the staff's responsibility to make every visit to Fifth Third Field so enjoyable that fans would want to come back again and again. Each season, every Dragons employee - from team president to bat boy - signs a commitment statement affirming their personal pledge to ensure an unparalleled fun and entertaining experience for fans. The vast majority of those employees - including senior management - have found that fan interaction to be incredibly rewarding, which explains why they have chosen to stay with the team for over a decade.
"The unprecedented continuity at all levels of our organization is something we're all very proud of," said Murphy. "Like many of our employees, I've been here for 12 years, and I think our fans appreciate seeing the same faces at every game. It creates that family-like atmosphere that we envisioned when we came to Dayton and makes Fifth Third Field so much more than just a ball park."
The franchise's success at the box office can also be attributed to its non-traditional approach to season ticket sales. A dedicated sales and services staff provides an unmatched level of personal attention to all season ticket holders, helping fans choose a package and payment plan that fits their individual lifestyle - a level of flexibility that helped the club continue its historic sellout streak despite the economic downturn's effects on the city and the citizens of Dayton. Ticket renewal invoices are packaged as memorabilia and season ticket books are delivered in premium, keepsake boxes. The result is a 95% season ticket renewal rate - which ranks among the top teams in professional sports.
Additionally, the team's involvement in the community extends beyond the stadium grounds, supporting the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Dayton Partnership, as well as the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dayton Development Coalition, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Kettering Health Network, and countless other community and charitable organizations.
"We are not just a baseball team located in Dayton," said Murphy. "We feel our responsibility is to serve as a true member of the community, and that goes well beyond what we do inside the walls of Fifth Third Field."
In selling all 7,230 seats at Fifth Third Field and averaging more than 8,400 fans for 815 straight games, the Dragons have consistently ranked in the Top 10 in attendance for all of Minor League Baseball for the past 11 seasons and have been No.1 in attendance for Class-A teams for 11 consecutive seasons.
The team will host a celebration of "The Streak" at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on July 23, which will include appearances by NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, who each own a share of the team.