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Edmonton Riverhawks break attendance record in 16-3 Canada Day win

The Edmonton Riverhawks have broken several attendance records, most recently during their Monday, July 1, Canada Day blowout victory.

The home team won in impressive fashion, beating the Port Angeles Lefties 16-3.

The Riverhawks are part of the West Coast League, which is a collegiate summer baseball league including teams from Alberta, B.C., Washington and Oregon.

The team closes out the first half of their season with an 18-9 record.

For the first time in Riverhawks’ history, REMAX Field was completely sold out Monday, selling 9,071 tickets. REMAX Field has a total capacity of 9,200.

“Our first sellout ever,” said Riverhawks GM Steve Hogle. “More than 9,000 people in here. We were talking after the game and we were saying: ‘When was the last time we had a sellout before that?’ And we thought maybe the last time the Trappers played here, so it has been a long, long time, but it’s just an absolute blast.

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“It’s the first sellout in well more than a decade for sure.”

Click to play video: 'Riverhawks have record breaking attendance for the season'

Riverhawks have record breaking attendance for the season

Last summer, the team also made West Coast League history. With its Aug. 6, 2023, crowd, the Riverhawks officially welcomed more than 100,000 fans to REMAX Field that summer — a new league record for single season attendance, with exactly 104,748.

The team recently boosted its fan experience, adding in-game contests and activities, theme nights, such as the popular Taylor Swift game night and Friday night game fireworks.

“It’s just been a ton of fun down here,” Hogle said. “The fans come down and they’re the ones that make it fun. We put out stuff we think is fun and they take it to the next level.

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“Baseball is an integral part of it to be sure but there’s a theme with every night and there’s so much fun that goes on with it. There are live bands, there’s dancing and kooky contests and the fans are all over it, they get right into it, they love to participate or chirp or just cheer,” Hogle said.

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He said Edmonton fans turn out in force and that the Riverhawks have larger crowds than many A, AA and even AAA cities and towns.

The next theme game is First Responders Night on Friday, July 5.

“We’ve made this relevant in a hockey city,” Hogle said. “The Oilers dominate — we get it, we love our hockey too — to make this so relevant in this city is a tip of the hat to the fans more than anybody. Our focus: the Oilers, the Elks, the Stingers, they’re all pro, so they are focused on wins. We’re collegiate and we’re fan-experience-focused so that’s where we’re laser-focused, on making sure that the experience is unparalleled.”

For tickets and more details, visit the Edmonton Riverhawks website.

General Admission seats cost as little as $9.99 (for youth), $14.99 for students and seniors and $19.99 for adults.

“The most common thing we hear from our fans is it’s so much fun and it’s so affordable,” Hogle added. “We’re pleased that they’re loving it and in terms of the broader picture, we think high tide floats all boats. We want all teams to be successful.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Stingers slam dunk when it comes to attracting fans'

Edmonton Stingers slam dunk when it comes to attracting fans

The Edmonton Stingers are also doing well both on the court and in the stands. The team has sold out three out of six home games so far this season.

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“We’ve been around for six years now and it’s grown every single year; being able to have that consistency in the city is great,” said Jordan Baker, the head coach and general manager.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the Oilers’ success and the excitement around sport in our city didn’t spill over into basketball and baseball. We’re just reaping the benefit.”

Adika Peter-McNeilly, Edmonton Stingers veteran, said when the team started, they were lucky to get 1,000 people in the stands. Now with their success, they’re drawing in new fans and new players to the team.

Hogle is hopeful the Riverhawks will bring playoff baseball back to Edmonton.

“The fans deserve a championship,” said Peter-McNeilly. “The Oilers, it was tough they couldn’t get it done, so we’ve kind of made it our duty now to put ourselves in the best situation to win.”

The Stingers have an upcoming three-game home stint this weekend.

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Dan Mason, sports management professor at the University of Alberta, thinks the Oilers’ success played a role in the Riverhawks’ success.

“The Oilers ticket prices were so out of the stratosphere. I think it, by comparison, makes the Stingers and the Riverhawks seem like a really good value for your dollar. And so I think that it’s actually helping them because people can see that you can see good, high-quality competition and different sports and you don’t have to pay through the nose for it.”

It’s also probably refreshing for fans to support athletes who are playing for the love of the game, rather than million-dollar salaries, Mason said.

“When you think about people sort of mortgaging themselves to go to Oilers payoffs games, it’s a completely different animal. It just makes the Stingers and the Riverhawks better value in the community and I think that’s something people are responding to,” he said.

“When you’re looking at people who are deciding to go to a Riverhawks game, they’re deciding not to go the movies or go out for dinner, that sort of thing,” he added. “You’re seeing a lot more opportunities for these smaller, lower-level sports to do well because they’re still within a price range for a lot of people.”

With files from Jaclyn Kucey, Global News

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