In their first season after the 2020 pandemic shutdown, the Schaumburg Boomers set franchise attendance records and saw, for the first time, fans wearing team merchandise at home, outnumbering them those of the Cubs and White Sox at Wintrust Field.
Over the July 4 weekend, the Boomers – now in their 10th year at Schaumburg Stadium – set single-game and weekend attendance records.
While previous records were set by day camp days and games aimed at group sales, this weekend was dominated by individual ticket holders.
“That’s what makes this kind of special,” said Boomers vice president and general manager Michael Larson. “That’s something we’ve seen a dramatic increase in 2021 compared to previous years.”
Last Friday’s attendance was 5,687, Saturday’s was 6,940 and the record was set on July 4 with 7,623 fans.
The Schaumburg Boomers are excited for their 2021 home opener in late May, at the start of a season that would see them set new franchise attendance records and sell more merchandise than ever before.
– Karie Angell Luc for the Daily Herald
Although the weather helped, Larson added that the focus on quality of fan experience is something the team has embarked on to make up for an expected loss in group sales following the pandemic.
Attendance numbers top those of the Frontier League, to which the team belongs, as well as fellow independent league American Association of Professional Baseball.
It was during a season where it was easier to attract fans than employees. Wintrust Field’s staff is just enough to do what the team had hoped for this season, but the front office would love to have more, Larson said.
The only way for baby boomers to ensure staffing levels are appropriate for the size of the crowd is to impose an early cut in ticket sales for lawn space, which has no limit specific. But if more people were hired, ticket sales this year could be even higher, Larson said.
However, merchandise sales probably couldn’t be.
“Our merchandise sales have skyrocketed this year,” he said. “It’s great to see the brand grow in this way.”
The team is not resting on the success of the first half of the season, knowing that bad weather and a series of poor performances on the field can impact sales, Larson said.
Wintrust Field belongs to the village of Schaumburg. Mayor Tom Dailly said he appreciates the team’s success at the venue and gives Larson much of the credit.
“He seems to be the creative force in the team,” Dailly said. “The village was very receptive to the ideas he came up with. … People are looking for exactly what is provided by the village of Schaumburg in conjunction with Boomers. You don’t even have to pay for parking. C is an affordable, family-friendly experience.”