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Charley Walters: Twins-Saints partnership talks quietly ongoing

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#21 Nine of twelve

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 08:59 PM

 

I bet St Cloud or Fargo could support a triple A team. Both support Northwoods League, which is much inferior ball (but still great fun). Both would need significant field improvements, however...

Respectfully, no way. The median AAA team averages about 6,900 attendance per game. To match that, 5% of the population of Fargo-Moorhead or 10% of the population of St. Cloud would have to go to EVERY game. Moreover, the ticket price would be significantly higher because Northwoods League players are not paid.


#22 Sconnie

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:53 AM

Respectfully, no way. The median AAA team averages about 6,900 attendance per game. To match that, 5% of the population of Fargo-Moorhead or 10% of the population of St. Cloud would have to go to EVERY game. Moreover, the ticket price would be significantly higher because Northwoods League players are not paid.

Ticket price would be higher, it doesn’t mean they won’t pay it.

The SCSU Men’s Hockey Team draws 6,000 per game. The UND men’s hockey team draws 10,000 per game, NDSU draws 5500 per men’s hockey game. They draw in people from outside the city itself.

Sure, different sports, but similar demographic to own sport season tickets. Prices for the tickets are similar, and number of games played are slightly shorter in hockey, but still 50 game season.

The St Cloud Rox was the AAA affiliate for the Twins in the 70s for a few years.

#23 Nine of twelve

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 05:53 AM

 

Ticket price would be higher, it doesn’t mean they won’t pay it.

The SCSU Men’s Hockey Team draws 6,000 per game. The UND men’s hockey team draws 10,000 per game, NDSU draws 5500 per men’s hockey game. They draw in people from outside the city itself.

Sure, different sports, but similar demographic to own sport season tickets. Prices for the tickets are similar, and number of games played are slightly shorter in hockey, but still 50 game season.

The St Cloud Rox was the AAA affiliate for the Twins in the 70s for a few years.

None of those sports plays a 65-game home schedule. And you wouldn't have students attending (at reduced ticket prices) because they wouldn't be there and because it's not a school sport. If you look at the populations of the current AAA franchises there is none anywhere near as small as F-M and St. Cloud is about half the size of F-M. It's wishful thinking to consider those locations for AAA and business people know wishful thinking doesn't translate into revenue.

And BTW the St. Cloud Rox you speak of were the equivalent of modern-day low-A or maybe rookie league and ceased to exist after 1971. Here's a link to the history of the Twins' minor league franchises. 

https://twinstrivia....league-history/

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#24 bighat

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 06:54 AM

 

Other than St. Paul the only metro areas in the upper Midwest that will work for a AAA franchise are Des Moines and Omaha. The populations of other locations are just too small and/or do not have enough Twins fans. Sioux Falls, SD, Lincoln, NE, Madison, WI, and Rochester, MN are all non-starters. Des Moines and Omaha are not going to flip from the Cubs and Royals unless the parent clubs decide to get out, and that is extremely unlikely.

Good point. Madison WI has tried getting Indy baseball going for years, with several teams coming and going but nothing sticking. I personally covered the Madison Black Wolf for a season for the local rag back in the day, stadium was a ghost town.

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#25 IndianaTwin

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 08:14 AM

I'm not convinced. The examples I can think of with the AAA team in the same Metro area (Atlanta/Gwinnett, Texas/Frisco) are considerably larger Metro areas with larger populations within an hour or two's drive. 

 

As to minor league affliliates driving major league fandom, I suspect it makes less difference than we think. There's a really cool Web site that shows fan affiliation by ZIP code, at least as measured by Facebook: https://www.nytimes....,40.074,-96.760. In Omaha, for example, the Royals don't show up in the top three favorites, despite being the KC AAA team for more than 50 years and being the closest team geographically. One has to go south of Lincoln a bit before the Royals start to register.

 

As to those mentioned, the Lincoln and Sioux Falls Metro areas rank between 152 and 182, and neither have populous outlying areas. FWIW, Cedar Rapids is between them, so if you're going to consider either of the former, you might as well consider the latter, and I don't think that's realistic. 

 

By population, if you want a larger Midwestern city that's under-represented in the MILB scene, Grand Rapids is a better choice. It's the 51st-largest market and currently only has a Class A team. It also has significant outlying population and frankly, a fair amount of wealth/opportunity for corporate sponsorship. 

 

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#26 ashbury

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 08:41 AM

Respectfully, no way. The median AAA team averages about 6,900 attendance per game. To match that, 5% of the population of Fargo-Moorhead or 10% of the population of St. Cloud would have to go to EVERY game. Moreover, the ticket price would be significantly higher because Northwoods League players are not paid.

Concur. Reno is possibly the smallest AAA metro area and the region's population is about 575K. After the initial excitement of having a new team they seem kind of marginal, with the second lowest attendance in the PCL in 2019. They thought the casino resorts would get them over the hump, but the casinos themselves are hurting and I don't think that panned out

 

Fargo and St Cloud weigh in at about 200K in regional population.

 

AAA should be located in a population center of around a million to be viable, absent heavy subsidies.
 

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#27 nicksaviking

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 08:44 AM

 

I bet St Cloud or Fargo could support a triple A team. Both support Northwoods League, which is much inferior ball (but still great fun). Both would need significant field improvements, however...

 

If there was a Twins affiliate in Fargo, I am confident they'd draw more than the 3.4K per game they currently do. However, the AAA affiliates are pretty much in all of the metro areas that would be considered next-in-line to support an actual MLB club. Charlotte, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Memphis, OK City.

 

Fargo also has the issue that 80% of the town clears out for the lake on the weekend, so there's not a ton of room for additional draw.

 

Madison is a strange case though. The metro is the same size as Des Moines, and with the lack of similarly sized metros in the upper Midwest, you'd think they'd be a hot territory for the AL/NL Central teams to fight over as an affiliate. But as far as I know they've only ever had the Muskies, which was only an A ball club and they up and moved 30 years ago.

 

 

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#28 IndianaTwin

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 09:49 AM

 

....

 

Madison is a strange case though. The metro is the same size as Des Moines, and with the lack of similarly sized metros in the upper Midwest, you'd think they'd be a hot territory for the AL/NL Central teams to fight over as an affiliate. But as far as I know they've only ever had the Muskies, which was only an A ball club and they up and moved 30 years ago.

 

Hypothesis: Madison is a university town, so demographics may skew younger than typical baseball fans. There's also more coming and going in university towns, so there's less opportunity for longer-term allegiances. And having grown up 15 minutes from Iowa City and now living near Notre Dame, I'm guessing that primary sports allegiances in Madison are to the Badgers, which is a very difficult nut to crack. 

 

There's also two other major league teams (three, if you count the White Sox:banghead: ) within a 2:30 drive to compete with. 

 

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#29 Nine of twelve

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 11:43 AM

 

Hypothesis: Madison is a university town, so demographics may skew younger than typical baseball fans. There's also more coming and going in university towns, so there's less opportunity for longer-term allegiances. And having grown up 15 minutes from Iowa City and now living near Notre Dame, I'm guessing that primary sports allegiances in Madison are to the Badgers, which is a very difficult nut to crack. 

 

There's also two other major league teams (three, if you count the White Sox:banghead: ) within a 2:30 drive to compete with. 

Further, census numbers include students, so a significant chunk of Madison's population isn't even there in the summer.

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#30 rdehring

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 01:50 PM

 

Good point. Madison WI has tried getting Indy baseball going for years, with several teams coming and going but nothing sticking. I personally covered the Madison Black Wolf for a season for the local rag back in the day, stadium was a ghost town.

A long time ago Madison had a low A ball team, the Muskies. Was affiliated with Oakland and had Conseco, that good shortstop and several other of the great A's from the late 80's.  

 

Team never made a penny and after several years was sold and moved to Michigan. Owned a small piece of that team and to be honest, we probably could have done a better job of marketing and managing the team. 


#31 bighat

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 02:13 PM

 

A long time ago Madison had a low A ball team, the Muskies. Was affiliated with Oakland and had Conseco, that good shortstop and several other of the great A's from the late 80's.  

 

Team never made a penny and after several years was sold and moved to Michigan. Owned a small piece of that team and to be honest, we probably could have done a better job of marketing and managing the team. 

Interesting! I was going to mention the Muskies but I thought it would almost be too obscure for the discussion (silly me, of course there's someone here who knows about the Muskies).

 

In my experience, Madison's a tough market for anything due to the incredibly popular university sports scene there. There's little room for anything else, I remember the Madison Mad Dogs arena football (or were they in the Indoor Football League?) and I covered a game or two of theirs as well. Again, just no room for them.

 

With the Badgers losing their baseball team due to some Title IX reorganizing, and with the city continuing to grow, you'd think there would be some wiggle room for baseball there - but there just hasn't been.


#32 rdehring

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 02:19 PM

 

Interesting! I was going to mention the Muskies but I thought it would almost be too obscure for the discussion (silly me, of course there's someone here who knows about the Muskies).

 

In my experience, Madison's a tough market for anything due to the incredibly popular university sports scene there. There's little room for anything else, I remember the Madison Mad Dogs arena football (or were they in the Indoor Football League?) and I covered a game or two of theirs as well. Again, just no room for them.

 

With the Badgers losing their baseball team due to some Title IX reorganizing, and with the city continuing to grow, you'd think there would be some wiggle room for baseball there - but there just hasn't been.

Having been involved with both the Badger hockey and football teams back when, certainly understand that the Badgers own the market. Heck, that was true even when the football team was awful all those years back in the 70's.

 

I know there has been talk of getting Badger baseball back as they are the only BIG school without it. But that isn't going to happen as long as Barry is AD. Add the financial problems all Ath Depts are having right now, the only changes we are going to see in the next few years is schools cutting sports rather than adding.

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#33 Sconnie

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:16 PM

If not St Paul, what makes sense for the Twins AAA club?

#34 jorgenswest

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:45 PM

 

Ticket price would be higher, it doesn’t mean they won’t pay it.

The SCSU Men’s Hockey Team draws 6,000 per game. The UND men’s hockey team draws 10,000 per game, NDSU draws 5500 per men’s hockey game. They draw in people from outside the city itself.

Sure, different sports, but similar demographic to own sport season tickets. Prices for the tickets are similar, and number of games played are slightly shorter in hockey, but still 50 game season.

The St Cloud Rox was the AAA affiliate for the Twins in the 70s for a few years.

Thanks for the reminder about St. Cloud baseball. It was fun to have an affiliate in Minnesota. Dave Goltz, George Mitterwald and Steve Brye played for St. Cloud. It was a short season team similar to Elizabethton.  
 

Adding the Saints to AA would be beneficial to both the Twins and St. Paul.

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#35 Major League Ready

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 03:58 PM

 

Respectfully, no way. The median AAA team averages about 6,900 attendance per game. To match that, 5% of the population of Fargo-Moorhead or 10% of the population of St. Cloud would have to go to EVERY game. Moreover, the ticket price would be significantly higher because Northwoods League players are not paid.

 

There are MiLB teams in towns smaller than St. Cloud.The population of the draw area is what matters and St. Cloud would draw from all of Stearns, Sherburne, Wright, and Benton counties.Obviously, they would also draw beyond that area to a lesser degree as well. 

 

Fargo Moorhead has a significant regional draw. I would guess either city would do just fine but St. Paul seems like a great plan to me.

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#36 Nine of twelve

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 05:54 PM

 

There are MiLB teams in towns smaller than St. Cloud.The population of the draw area is what matters and St. Cloud would draw from all of Stearns, Sherburne, Wright, and Benton counties.Obviously, they would also draw beyond that area to a lesser degree as well. 

 

Fargo Moorhead has a significant regional draw. I would guess either city would do just fine but St. Paul seems like a great plan to me.

Either city would probably do just fine for Low-A but travel to and from the rest of the franchises in the Midwest League rules that out.

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#37 Melissa

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 04:49 PM

I would simply LOVE having the Twin AAA affiliate at CHS. Call them the St Paul Saints, too. I would definitely attend some games there (more than I do now) be cuz the baseball would be better and all the rest that people say (esp. prospects). I would hope that they would coordinate schedules not to conflict too much with Twins MLB games.

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