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Charleston named No. 11 MiLB market
08/15/2013 1:45 PM ET

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Fans of the Holy City have known for a very long time that Charleston is one of world's great destination cities. Now one of the nation's premier authorities on the business side of sports lists the Port City as a top-15 minor league market.

SportsBusiness Journal (SBJ) has named Charleston the 11th best minor league market in the country for 2013.

Toledo, Ohio, grabbed the top spot out of the 235 communities nationwide in its biennial Top Minor League list since its inception in 2005. In 2011, Charleston was rated No. 7 and Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa., was the No. 1 spot.

According to SBJ, the ranking is determined by fan base, tenured clubs and the economy. This year, researchers analyzed 235 markets, 47 leagues, 408 teams, 249.8 million in total minor league attendance, and 2.64 billion in construction at 50 new or extensively renovated venues.

The listing includes the Lowcountry's minor league teams that include the Charleston RiverDogs, the South Carolina Stingrays and the Charleston Battery.

"This project measures what market best supports its minor league teams through thick and thin," said SportsBusiness Journal research director David Broughton, who has spearheaded this study since creating it in 2005.

"We know we live in a great sports area and this SportsBusiness Journal article confirms it," said RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. "While the City of Charleston and our facility (Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park) rank high in a multitude of polls, we, as the RiverDogs, take pride in that we listen intently to our fans and try to provide them with a wholesome, family atmosphere.

"I also believe that our successful social media efforts possibly aided in these ratings," he added.

The RiverDogs' records in attendance (nearing 4 million since opening in 1997) remain impressive, but it is the fun in the stands that helps keep fans coming back to The Joe.

"We have a passionate and loyal fan base, one that appreciates the fun we present, but also good baseball," Echols added. "And we take great pride in the fact that all three professional teams - the RiverDogs, Stingrays and Battery - not only enjoy a tremendous working relationship but strive to represent the Lowcountry in a positive manner."

The RiverDogs are in their ninth year as the Class A affiliate of the 27-time World Series Champion New York Yankees.

The top 15 markets include:

  1. Toledo, Ohio
  2. Rochester, NY
  3. Hershey-Harrisburg, PA
  4. San Bernardino County, CA
  5. Springfield, MA
  6. Syracuse, NY
  7. Fort Wayne, IN
  8. Des Moines, IA
  9. Spokane, WA
  10. Sioux Falls, SD
  11. Charleston, SC
  12. Providence/Pawtucket, RI
  13. Portland, ME
  14. Modesto, CA
  15. Appleton, WI