On Monday, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that the next five home games at Salt River Fields were sold out. So far this spring, they have averaged about 11,300 fans per game. Games are well attended and the atmosphere is good.
Basically, moving from Tucson to Scottsdale was a good idea.
Why exactly is there such a draw in spring training?
To start with, no other major league team has spring training in their own backyard. The stadium is just a year old, so it is still novel to people.
"There is so much excitement right now for the D-backs and you can see that every day here at Salt River Fields," said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. "The fans have turned out again in record numbers and we're seeing a real impact on tickets at Chase Field as well." .
Perhaps what has fans coming out in droves has been the hope of a successful 2012. Last season it took a long time before the fans started believe the Diamondbacks and show up to games. With expectations higher than last year and with a team that made the playoffs in 2011, fans are taking notice.
Of course, now the team is a popular draw. What will be interesting to see is what happens to attendance should the D-Backs take a step back and not look like NL West contenders.
Arizona sports fans in general are picky. They do not want to watch teams that are hopeless or irrelevant. Right or wrong, that is how it goes.
Ideally, the regression doesn't happen and fans can build up a lot of fan capital as they win. But the reality could be that Arizona does not come out of the gates well.
Will the fans still show up on a Wednesday afternoon? That has yet to be seen.