Brewers reach two million tickets sold
Date of milestone is second-earliest in franchise history
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers reached two million tickets sold Wednesday morning, marking the second-earliest date in a season the franchise has arrived at that milestone.
The earliest the Brewers have ever sold two million tickets was by April 19, 2001, the first year they played at Miller Park. Last year, the team did not reach the figure until July 5.
"We've seen some very robust sales, and it hasn't diminished," said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president of business operations. "We're looking to have a fantastic year."
The Brewers have averaged 31,044 fans at their 24 home games so far, which ranks 14th of the 30 Major League teams. The attendance mark represents a 31-percent spike from last year's average of 23,745, the third-best increase among big-league teams.
The team already has experienced seven sellouts and drew more than 128,000 fans in a three-game Interleague series against the Twins over the weekend. The Brewers did not attract more than 120,000 fans in any three-game series last year.
Schlesinger said the numbers will only go up as the summer progresses. The first two months of the season have always posed problems for the Brewers, he said, especially with school still in session.
In addition, Schlesinger expects crowds to flock to Miller Park for upcoming series against division rivals such as the Cubs and Astros and against Barry Bonds' Giants. With the way the Brewers are playing, Schlesinger also expects fans to show up in September as the team contends for a playoff spot.
Milwaukee led the National League Central by 6 1/2 games over Houston and Chicago entering Wednesday night's contest against the Dodgers.
"Having a large part of the April and May schedule under our belt with these kinds of numbers is great," Schlesinger said. "It's a very good summer schedule for us."
More than 2.3 million fans showed up at the ballpark last year, but Schlesinger said he hopes to blow that number away this year. The team set a franchise record when it drew more than 2.8 million fans to Miller Park in 2001, and Schlesinger said he hopes to beat that mark in the near future.
"Certainly, it would be very pleasing to me in the near future to be able to beat that mark," he said. "I feel that it's something for us to shoot for."
Schlesinger said the Brewers have also reached historic levels in every other measure of fan support this year. Merchandise sales are up 50 percent from last year, which in turn saw a 30-percent jump from the previous year. Brewers.com has been visited by more browsers than at any time in history. Schlesinger is also pleased with the franchise's suite sales and sponsorship deals, he said.
Schlesinger is in his fifth season with the Brewers, having worked for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for five years prior to that. He's never seen numbers like that for either the Angels or Brewers franchises.
"I'm obviously always interested in what people are saying at the water cooler," Schlesinger said. "On an anecdotal basis, in the marketplace, there's no question there's more buzz about the Brewers."
Kelvin Ang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.