published Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Chattanooga Lookouts attendance beats past three years

AT&T Field is the home of the Chattanooga Lookouts.
AT&T Field is the home of the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Photo by Doug Strickland.
TAKE ME OUT TO AT&T FIELD

Chattanooga's total and average home attendance figures for the last several seasons, with five home games remaining this year:

YEAR // TOTAL // AVG.

2012 // 227,655 // 3,557

2011 // 224,974 // 3,409

2010 // 217,469 // 3,246

2009 // 224,157 // 3,346

2008 // 236,639 // 3,480

2007 // 242,104 // 3,459

2006 // 231,421 // 3,354

2005 // 240,075 // 3,430

2004 // 244,960 // 3,602

Source: Southern League

The Chattanooga Lookouts have been successful on the field this season and even more so in the AT&T Field seats.

Chattanooga has drawn 227,655 fans this season, surpassing the totals of each of the past three years with one five-game homestand remaining. The Lookouts have averaged 3,557 fans a game, which is the highest such clip for the Class AA franchise since 2004.

"We have had a really good year," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said Monday. "I think we've had a solid B-plus type of season, and the only reason I wouldn't give us an A is that there is still an awful lot of room for us to grow here. This was our first dipping into theme nights and community nights and that kind of stuff, and now people have seen them and know about them."

The turnstile success has transpired while the Lookouts remain for sale. Team owner Frank Burke withdrew from overseeing operations at AT&T Field this time last year to focus on the transaction, which he said has come close several times.

Burke added that several parties are very interested now, but he declined to offer specifics.

"There is a lot going on that people don't see, and that's OK," said Burke, who has attended just two Lookouts games this year. "Everywhere I go, people ask me about it. It's a complicated transaction because we own the stadium and it's a high-value asset. There is a lot of activity, but it's not at the point where it can be talked about.

"It's an ongoing process, and something this big and this complicated -- it's just not a traditional business. It's not like buying a grocery store."

Burke never expected the team to sell during a season because of the way revenue comes in and out, and this year's accomplishments should only help the value. Most Double-A franchises have sold in recent years at $12 million to $15 million.

The Lookouts fared poorer than expected at the gate during the 2009 and '10 seasons, when the sweltering heat and humidity led to a sizable summer swoon. The late-season weather was more tolerable last year, but the April tornadoes and their aftermath resulted in a mediocre spring.

"Weather has been cooperative this year for the most part, and we put a real effort on our reaching out to the community," Mozingo said. "We had a 'Home and Garden Night,' and 'UTC Night' was another great night at the ballpark. We've really doubled or tripled our efforts into inviting people out to our baseball games."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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