Michigan Cities Among Best Minor League Cities in America
On Monday, Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal came out with their top minor league cities in America, and Michigan comes in strong with a few on the list and one in the top ten.
Lansing is rated in the top 100, coming in at 79 due to the favorable numbers of the Lansing Lugnuts (single-A affiliate of Toronto Blue Jays).
Grand Rapids cracks the top 10, at number 10. They're home to three detroit minor league teams. The West Michigan Whitecaps (single-A Tigers), Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL, Red Wings) and Grand Rapids Drive (D-League, Pistons).
Peter Wallner of mLive reports that a big reason for the top 10 inclusion is the recent location of the Drive in GR. Grand Rapids has shot up the list in recent years from 178 in 2011 and 36 in 2013.
Other Michigan cities that come in on the positive side of the rating are Kalamazoo at 68 (Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL, Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets), Midland at 92 (Great Lakes Loons, single-A LA Dodgers), and Traverse City at 143 (independent Traverse City Beach Bums).
Toledo comes in at number two on the list and Toledo has plenty of Detroit sports roots. From the AAA Toledo Mud Hens filling in the Tigers farm system, to the Toledo Walleye the lone ECHL affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings.
Quad Cities in Iowa is ranked as the number one minor league market in America.