AUGUST 25, 1983 | LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY • A million fans can’t be wrong. The Louisville Redbirds became the first minor league baseball team to draw more than a million fans in a season on this date in 1983. Not long before that, a million was considered good for a major league team.
Louisville, the St. Louis Cardinals’ triple-A team, reached 1,006,103 in attendance with a crowd of more than 31,000. The Redbirds outdrew three major league teams that year – the Cleveland Indians (768,941), Seattle Mariners (813,537) and Minnesota Twins (858,939).
Minor league baseball experienced an attendance renaissance at the end of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st. According milb.com, the official website of minor league baseball, minor league baseball draws more fans than the NBA or the NFL. By drawing 39.8 million in 2004 it broke the total attendance record of 39.6 million fans set in 1949. Minor League attendance peaked in 2008 at 43.2 million.
While attendance has dropped in the last decade or so, it remains above 40 million each year.
[Minor league baseball does not include numerous independent leagues around the country that are not associated with major league teams.]