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Sports Business Journal Names Charleston Top Minor League Market in 2022 Rankings

Vernon Named Carolina League Pitcher of the Month for May

September 20, 2022 – Carolina League (CarL)Charleston RiverDogs News Release

Fans cheer on the Charleston RiverDogs
Fans cheer on the Charleston RiverDogs
(Charleston RiverDogs)

Charleston, SC – Sports Business Journal has named Charleston the top minor league sports market in the country in their biennial ranking released on Monday afternoon. The Charleston RiverDogs are one of three minor league franchises in the city, alongside the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays and the Charleston Battery of the USL Championship. The Charleston market had been rated in the top ten four times previously, but had never reached the top of the list.

“We have always known how special Charleston is when it comes to supporting local sports franchises, so it is fulfilling to see this community receive the appropriate recognition in a reputable publication like Sports Business Journal”, said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. “We are elated to be part of this community alongside our friends with the Stingrays and Battery and value lasting relationships we have established in Charleston. This news comes right on the heels of a standing room only crowd of over 6,000 attending our payoff game on Sunday so this ranking was well-earned”.

Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park hosted a total of 251,491 fans this season during 63 RiverDogs home games, an average of 3,992 per game. That average was third in the Carolina League and fourth among 30 teams at the Single-A level. The RiverDogs unveiled a new club seating area at the Joe in 2017. now called “The Segra Club”, which is available year-round for private events. The team will host approximately 125 events in the club this year. In addition, the RiverDogs set franchise records for attendance in 2018, tickets and sponsorship sales in 2019 and merchandise sales in 2021 and 2022.

This year’s rankings represented the ninth time that Sports Business Journal has produced a ranking of minor league markets. The first came in 2005 and subsequent rankings have ensued every other year until the 2021 edition was pushed back to 2022 due to the pandemic. The project included rankings of 320 professional teams in 34 leagues from 195 different markets.

Other recent top-rated markets include Grand Rapids, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities. Charleston has slowly moved up to the top of the list, having been slotted fifth in 2015, fourth in 2017 and third in 2019. Fort Wayne, IN finished second to Charleston this year.

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