It should go without saying that Tim Tebow has been a boon for minor league baseball.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Tebow is a draw. We know this. He was a draw at Florida, for the Denver Broncos and at every subsequent NFL stop. People care about him.
His career as a Minor League Baseball player has been no different. His draw has been compared to what Minor League teams experienced in 1994 with Michael Jordan (more on that here).
But what do the actual numbers show?
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that “For Tebow’s team, the Columbia Fireflies, attendance is up more than 30 percent this year versus this time last year.” As impressive as that is, the draw that Tebow has on the road is even more significant.
“For most road stops, having Tim Tebow come to town is worth a doubling in attendance compared to a standard game,” Rovell’s report added. “At its extreme, it’s even more. The Hickory Crawdads drew more fans for the four games against the Fireflies (17,500) than they had for their first eight games leading up to the series (15,900).”
And if you don’t think that’s music to the ears (or eyes) of Minor League Baseball teams, you’re dreaming.
Throughout the history of baseball — especially Minor League Baseball — teams have tried all kinds of goofy promotions as a way to draw fans. In some cases, teams will label an opposing team’s player as a K-beer batter. In 2016, the Binghamton Mets advertised a “Netflix and Chill” night, with all of the mental imagery that it produces.
With Tebow, the South Atlantic League has one big promotional tour that’s working in a tangible way.
While Tebow hasn’t starred as a Minor League Baseball player, he hasn’t looked out of place, either. Considering that and his immense drawing power, the only way he’s leaving the South Atlantic League is with a promotion to Double-A, which is quite possible. We wouldn’t be surprised to see opposing teams literally roll out a red carpet for him when the Fireflies roll into town.