SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield gets high marks when it comes to minor league sports cities.
The Sports Business Journal ranks Springfield number 5 in all the country.
Springfield is home to the American Hockey League’s Falcons, and the NBA’s D-League Armor.
Springfield earns the number 5 ranking because few minor league sports markets have been as defiant against tough economic times, according to the Sports Business Journal.
Bruce Landon is President of the Falcons hockey club and has led the franchise through some turbulent times.
“I think it’s a testament to the longevity of the franchise here and the fact there’s been professional hockey here since 1936,” says Landon.
Surviving tough economic times doesn’t come easy.
Landon says he has to balance running a tight ship in a professional manner while keeping prices affordable.
“I don’t worry so much what they do in other markets around our league, or in other leagues, I worry what works for Springfield and we’re in a price sensitive market so we have to keep our prices affordable because we’re family entertainment. Once we start getting away from that, we’re dead in the water,” says Landon.
Landon says the challenge now is to build off last year and move forward.
A proposed MGM casino he says could help.
“If the casino license is given to MGM, and they operate basically out our front door here, there will be masses of people coming down, we hope we’ll get a spill off from that,” says Landon.
Besides surviving some tough economic times, the Falcons saw their attendance go up 9 percent last year and that was a big plus for the franchise.
The Springfield market was also cited for investing in its sports future including the new $47-million Basketball Hall of Fame built in 2002, as well as a $71 million upgrade to the MassMutual Center where the Falcons and Armor play their home games.