Pistol Shrimp, Prospect League set attendance records

More than 21,000 fans attended Schweickert Stadium in 2023

Fans attend the final home game during the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp season on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023 at Schweickert Stadium in Peru.

The Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp and the Prospect League set attendance records this summer.

The Pistol Shrimp drew 21,813 fans to Schweickert Stadium in Peru for the 2023 collegiate summer baseball season, which is the highest total in franchise history.

The 2023 attendance numbers are more than 3,000 higher than in 2022 and more than 5,000 higher than the team’s inaugural season in Peru in 2021. The Pistol Shrimp averaged 808 fans per game, which is a team record.

The Pistol Shrimp finished 27-31 in the 2023 season.

The Prospect League welcomed 575,294 fans to the league’s stadiums this summer, which is the first time the league drew more than half a million fans in one season.

The league set records for overall attendance and average attendance and had the highest year-to-year increase in league history.

“The attendance surge this season proved that fans seek the quality baseball, family-friendly entertainment and fun atmosphere provided by the Prospect League,” first-year Prospect League commissioner David Brauer said in a news release.

The Prospect League increased attendance by 23% this summer compared with 2022, which was the largest increase among all summer collegiate leagues, beating the West Coast (15%), Northwoods (12%) and Appalachian (10%) leagues. The Prospect League had the fourth highest overall attendance numbers.

The Clinton LumberKings drew 80,904 fans to lead the league in attendance for the third season in a row. The Springfield Lucky Horseshoes had the league’s largest attendance increase, bringing in 10,645 more fans this season than in 2022.

The league’s two new teams, the Thrillville Thrillbillies and Jackson Rockabillys, made an impact on the league’s attendance.

The Thrillbillies, who play in downstate Marion, finished second in the league with 63,070 fans, while the Rockabillys, based in Jackson, Tennessee, finished fifth with 46,949 fans.

“The league, our individual teams and each of our players are deeply appreciative of the tremendous fan support shown in our markets,” Bauer said. “Smashing attendance records with significant growth league-wide illustrates an appetite for our product among avid and casual fans alike. We are confident this momentum will carry forward as the Prospect League continues to give fans more in 2024.”