SOUTH BEND, Ind. - South Bend has been home to professional baseball since 1988. Baseball notables such as Carlton Fisk and Terry Francona have made their way through downtown South Bend. But Friday night, South Bend entered uncharted territory, setting a single-game franchise attendance record of 8,143 for the matchup with Bowling Green.
"Again I can't say it enough. It's a very humbling experience," South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart said. "We're just so grateful for this community and the support that we get. Also a big thanks to the Cubs for having the belief and the trust in bringing their guys here, because we know that's a big commitment from their standpoint. It's awesome."
South Bend broke the previous single-game attendance apex of 8,004, set June 19. The Cubs welcomed 7,855 fans - the third-largest total - to Four Winds Field for Friday's series opener against the Hot Rods.
"As great as tonight is, we're going to continue to work hard," Hart said. "This is certainly not the end for us. We're always gonna look for new ways to make things bigger and better and continue to improve on the fan experience."
Entering the season, South Bend's single-game franchise attendance record was 7,287, set July 3, 2013. The Cubs cracked that mark April 18 with a crowd of 7,575, and went a step further May 22 with a then-record attendance of 7,786.
Through 39 home dates at Four Winds Field, South Bend's average attendance is up 27.8 percent compared to last season.
In 2014, South Bend set a new single-season total attendance record (258,836).
"If you're looking for affordable family entertainment, I think we've been able to establish ourselves as a good place to go," Hart said. "And if you haven't been out here yet, please, just give us a shot. We think you'll come out and enjoy it whether you're a baseball fan or not."