For years now, people have been debating what to do about the dilapidated eyesore that is Fairgrounds Field in Shreveport, LA. At one point, it was going to be completely torn down. At another point, REV Entertainment (an arm of the Texas Rangers empire) was going to rebuild and remodel that entire area. At another point, local groups were pitching ideas to salvage the property and give it new life.

Basically, there's been a lot of talk over a lot of years, but not a lot of action in any direction. But, historically speaking, Shreveport has been a major baseball town. The Kansas City Monarchs from the Negro Leagues used to hold their spring training here. Babe Ruth and the Yankees came to town for spring training. We've had numerous affiliated and unaffiliated minor league ball clubs. We've produced several notable players, including current studs like Seth Lugo and Hall of Famers like Willard Brown.

But through all the talks about what the future looks like for the property, one thing is constant - Shreveport should have professional baseball on some level played there. Which, as a baseball fan and former Captains season ticket holder, I would love it. But, the real question - would the City and people support it?

What Did Attendance Look Like For the Shreveport Captains?


Whether it be the pros, minor leagues or independent pro ball, the one thing a team needs to survive and thrive is community support. And not just from fans, but the city and sponsors and the whole nine. As much as I'd love the idea of a pro ball team here in town, I'm not sure they would get the kind of support they would need to survive and thrive.

For instance, the Shreveport Captains/Swamp Dragons (the minor league affiliate version) left Shreveport in 2002 and became the Frisco RoughRiders. You can find numerous stories and pages online covering the move online. Some say the then new owners Mandalay Sports Entertainment had no interest in Shreveport, no matter what. Some say they wanted a new stadium and couldn't get it here so they moved. The reason they left isn't really the point. What happened after they left that matters.

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The Captains had their peak attendance year in 1988, where more than 234,000 fans attended home games that season (an average of 3,450 fans per game). That was the original Captains. The last year of the original Texas League Captains, drew about 1,932 fans per home game. The 2nd version of the Captains, their best year was the first year, where they averaged 1,843 fans per game. You can read all the numbers for yourself here.

However, armed with a new state of the art 10,000 seat ballpark, a big corporate sponsor and some community support, the rebranded Frisco RoughRiders quickly became one of the most profitable teams in the Minors. Since they moved to Frisco, they have one of the best attendance records in Minor League baseball. Their best year, they average 9,264 fans per home game (which is almost a sell out). Their worst year, they still averaged 4,828 fans. So, their worst year is better than the Captains best year.

Could Shreveport Support a Professional Baseball Team?

Above paints a pretty bleak picture, right? It makes us sound like we're the worst baseball market of all time and one that doesn't deserve a team. But that's not the case at all.

While Shreveport doesn't compare to Frisco on the baseball attendance front, the Captains, even the unaffiliated ball version, still outdrew several affiliated ball clubs. The last year of the Shreveport-Bossier Captain of the American Association drew an average of 1,186 fans for home games.

That's better than the bottom 7 affiliated MiLB ball clubs. And that was the Captains at their worst with the least amount of support and passion. If we got an affiliated ball club, I would expect those numbers to compete with the Hickory Crawdads (who just so happen to be the High A Rangers Affiliate in the Southern League) if not exceed them. The Crawdads average between 1700 & 1841 fans per home game. The Texas League Captains beat that attendance number every year from 1986 until they left. Even the unaffiliated Captains posted comparable numbers.

So, with some community support and some decent sponsors, I do think the idea is viable and could actually work. The real question is will it ever happen. And for that, I don't have an answer other than to say don't hold your breath.

A Last, Sad Look into Shreveport's Fairgrounds Field

Gallery Credit: Mike Martindale

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