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Johnson City remains top market in Cardinals system

SportsBusiness Journal has released its fifth installment of its every-other-year rankings of 235 minor league markets. The study encompasses 408 teams in five sports, including minor league baseball, of course. Others are basketball, hockey, indoor football and soccer.

The St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliate cities from Double-A to short-season rookie level scored as follows. The 2011 and 2009 rankings are listed for comparison purposes.

2013 rank 2011 2009 Market Other teams included
35 29 46 Johnson City, Tenn.
55 114 6 Peoria, Ill Peoria Rivermen – hockey
104 78 127 Palm Beach County, Fla. Jupiter Hammerheads – Marlins
118 121 99 Springfield, Mo.
133 141 113 State College, Penn.

For the second consecutive study, the Cardinals Appalachian League location of Johnson City, Tennessee, scores best of the five cities included. Peoria, Illinois also ranked well, in the top 25 percent. It was a nice rebound after a huge drop in 2011.

Palm Beach, Florida and Springfield, Missouri came in around the midpoint with State College also in the upper edge of the mid-range. Both Springfield and State College improved slightly in the 2013 rankings.

Because of the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, the Tennessee city is considered a major league market, excluded from this work.

A market’s total score was generated from three category-specific scores: tenure rank, attendance rank and economic rank.

Tenure is extremely important, accounting for two-thirds of each market’s grade. It comes from a formula that includes each team’s length of presence in its market and applies penalties if teams move away or cease operations.

Attendance is just one-fifth of each market’s grade. It comes from the total attendance of all a market’s teams and overall percentage of seats filled over the most recent five-year period.

Economic rank takes into account unemployment, population and each market’s Total Personal Income (TPI).

Full rankings as well as information about the research, including a listing of the teams and leagues tracked and each market ranked, are available at

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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22 Responses to “Johnson City remains top market in Cardinals system”

  1. blingboy says:

    JC keeps on rolling along. The article mentions that tenure is a huge part of the ranking, so that puts JC in a good position. As a teenager, I happened to spend a bit of time there the first summer and helped get the clubhouse and facilities set up after the Yankees moved out and took everything literally including the kitchen sink. If I recall correctly, I made $1.65 an hour and my claim to fame is picking Tommy Herr up from the bus stop one time. I also got in a bit of trouble one time when the clothes dryer was down and I hung up some laundry, including a row of jocks, in plain site of the road and somebody called in a complaint.

    The whole place seemed to me like it was going to dry up and blow away, but so did the other Appy league towns I visited. I’d grown up in St. Louis, and the Appalachian region was a revelation.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Since you were there, a lot of money was made in coal, but this has shrunk in recent years. The Sun Belt as whole has thrived and agriculture has thrived, so the Shenendoah valley and East Tennessee are doing pretty well, all things considered given the economy. Appalachian league games would be nice to attend.

      • blingboy says:

        I’ve been through those parts a few times and the region is unrecognizable since the mid 70s. At least what you can see from the main highways. I saw quite a bit of back country then and not since.

        The road over the mountains to get to the one park that was in West Virginia was so treacherous that lots of guys refused to ride the bus. They piled in cars instead. I rode on the bus a couple times so I didn’t blame them one bit. I sometimes wonder what that trip is like now.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          I used to drive local roads up from Kingsport TN into the hills and they meandered through hollows. Nowadays there are fast State roads. I have been up the Interstate from western Virginia to Charleston, West Virginia; a can of corn, thanks to Senator Byrd.

          • blingboy says:

            I-77 was just a gleam in Mr. Byrd’s eye in 1975. There was no direct route from the valley up into W. Virginia. Twisty backcountry roads going back and forth picking its way through and over the mountains.

  2. crdswmn says:

    I have never been to Johnson City, but I would really like to go. Same for State College and Peoria. Peoria is a more likely destination for me in the near future because of it’s proximity. If I ever get back into a financial situation where longer trips are possible, I am going to make the trip to Johnson City, and perhaps State College as well.

  3. blingboy says:

    I saw this non-baseball related item on-line and was reminded of a comment some time back by a poster who complained sometimes she feels like the world is spiraling out of control. I had one of those moments when I saw this.–sears-pulls-bondage-wear-from-website

  4. Bw52 says:

    Was going to say that Cards needed a big start was AW.Bang…………….down 2-0 after 3 batters.The recent AW trend continues.Maybe he can limit the damage and be the AW he was earlier this season.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    Why would we promote Jermaine Curtis? What is the thought process? Could young Jermaine become the new Old Wiggy?

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