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Fans still showing up in Milwaukee

Attendance is down, but not in Milwaukee. Tom Haudricourt:

    The Brewers just announced they have reached two million tickets sold for the 2009 home season, the second-earliest date in club history they reached that level.
    In a tough economy, those ticket sales show again the high interest in the Brewers among their fan base. Many teams have experienced drops in ticket sales from a year ago, due in large part to the tough economic times.

    The earliest the Brewers have reached 2 million tickets sold was April 19, 2001, the first year the team played in Miller Park. In comparison to last season when the Brewers set an all-time franchise attendance mark with over three million fans, the two million mark was reached on April 24.

    "Ticket sales have been very encouraging coming off of last season's playoff run,” said Brewers executive vice president of business operations Rick Schlesinger.

This is impressive. Thirty years ago, only eight of the 26 major league franchises drew two million fans, and only four clubs drew more than 2.5 million. Even 10 years ago, 11 franchises failed to draw two million fans. But what's more impressive is this: Milwaukee doesn't seem to have any business even being in the major leagues. As of 2004, the Milwaukee metropolitan area was the 36th most populous in the United States, the smallest in the majors and behind non-MLB areas like Portland, Sacramento, Columbus and Indianapolis (to name just a few).
Essentially, the Brewers are baseball's Green Bay Packers (and in more ways than one). The Packers work because they sell out every game and share equally in the NFL's TV revenues. The Brewers don't share equally in much of anything. Whether they can make it, in the long run, I just don't know. But right now they're probably doing about as well as anyone could hope.