PRESS RELEASE – The Quad Cities River Bandits and surrounding community celebrated a milestone during Friday night’s game at Modern Woodmen Park. The eight-millionth fan, Braeden Billings, came through the gates of the Friendliest Ballpark in America during the Bandits home game against the Peoria Chiefs. The attendance has been tracked since 1960, when Quad Cities became a member of the Midwest League. The benchmark was reached during the final game of a nine-game homestand for the River Bandits.
After setting single-season attendance records in each of the last two seasons, Modern Woodmen Park had welcomed 7,824,000 fans through its gates from 1960 through 2015. The River Bandits had welcomed 173,785 fans during the 2016 season entering Friday. With the milestone 2,215 guests away, the benchmark was reached Friday when Billings entered the Friendliest Ballpark in America.
“I wasn’t really expecting it, but it’s awesome and really exciting,” said Billings after being told he’s the eight-millionth fan at Modern Woodmen Park.
The rising fifth-grader is a Des Moines, Iowa native visiting his grandparents in the Quad Cities Area. The lucky fan was rewarded with a basket of gifts from the River Bandits, including an autographed baseball from Astros No. 4 prospect Kyle Tucker and general admission season tickets for the 2017 season. With Billings joining his family for a River Bandits game, it was an appropriate way for the milestone to be achieved.
“We are so grateful to the people of the Quad Cities for supporting the River Bandits so strongly,” said River Bandits owner Dave Heller. “To have 8 million people pass through our gates is a tremendous milestone, and to see our attendance increasing every season makes it especially gratifying. The River Bandits and the Quad Cities are a perfect match — a championship team for a championship community.”
The Bandits entered Friday ranked eighth in the Midwest League in average attendance for the 2016 season. Modern Woodmen Park underwent a full-scale renovation in 2002 and have seen crowds surpass 7,000 18 times since the expansion. The largest single-game attendance came nearly one calendar year ago, when 8,207 fans attended the River Bandits July 31, 2015 game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.