DES MOINES - The Sports Business Journal named Des Moines No. 1 on their top minor league market rankings Monday. The Iowa Cubs are one of four minor league teams across as many sports in the city, prompting the recognition from the SBJ.
"We are pleased to be a part of the Des Moines market and to share this recognition with the Iowa Wild, the Barnstormers and Wolves," said President and General Manager Sam Bernabe. "We are proud of the strong and lasting partnership we have created and maintained with the City of Des Moines over the years, and thank it and our fans for their continuous support."
Principal Park hosted an average of 7,763 fans per game in 2017, a five percent increase from 2016, and has also seen a steady uptick in merchandise sales with the club finishing in the top-25 in minor league merchandise sales for 2016 for the first time in history. Special events are also on the rise as The Cub Club restaurant, overlooking Sec Taylor Field, is open year-around and serves as a host to a multitude of gatherings.
The organization, in conjunction with the City of Des Moines, has worked to ensure that fan experience is continuously positive. Recent Principal Park improvements have included a 62-foot-wide HD video board, installed prior to the 2015 season; a ribbon video board installed prior to 2017; and new Musco LED stadium lighting installed in June. Upcoming projects look to increase player experience, as an additional new batting cage will be concluded this offseason.
The Iowa Cubs' future remains steady in Des Moines. Earlier this year, the I-Cubs extended their lease with the city through 2037 and its partnership with the Chicago Cubs through at least 2020. Principal Financial Group also extended its stadium naming rights through 2027.
Sports Business Journal rankings
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.