The (Not So) Minor League Market of Dayton, Ohio

Greetings readers,

Recently an article was posted on the Sports Business Daily website, ranking the entire minor league sports scene in the United States. Taking the 66th spot on this list, my home: Dayton, Ohio.

Dayton ranks third of the cities in Ohio listed, behind #2 Toledo and #46 Akron. Seven total Ohio areas made the list, with #144 Eastlake, T-#145 Youngstown-Niles, #170 Avon, and #181 Canton representing 212 areas. Taking the top spot on this list was the Quad Cities region of Moline, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. At the 212th spot: Odessa, Texas.

Currently, Dayton is the home of the Demolition of the Federal Hockey League and the Dragons of the Midwest League [Minor League Baseball.] Dayton was also the home of the USL Dutch Lions for a few seasons (while the USL team is no more, the Dutch Lions still operate in the Premier Development League.)

Here’s the tweet that I’ve found (from @MonroeBlade) that linked the article from Sports Business Daily:

Since the original article was published, the Dayton Business Journal had an article about the ranking.

While the 66th ranking might not be eye-raising, there are some things to also take in consideration about the Dayton market. First off, the Dayton-area has been home to a hockey team every season since 1991, the first year of the ECHL Dayton Bombers. It’s been the Bombers (’91-2009), Ice Bandits (1996-97 season), Gems (2009-2012), Demonz (2012-2015), and Demolition (beginning November 2015) in that streak. In a city that has seen a colorful, fruitful hockey history, the streak only adds to a great minor league hockey scene. Also, don’t forget about the Dayton Dragons and that amazing streak of sell-out games (at the end of the 2014 season, the streak made it to 1,051 games sold out.)

Out of curiosity, I looked at the foes of the Dayton Dragons and Demolition to see where the rivals ranked.

For the Dragons in the Midwest League (Single-A level of Minor League Baseball), the Quad Cities River Bandits, Clinton LumberKings, and the Burlington Bees were the #1 area (also a former opponent of the 2009-12 Gems play there too, in the Mallards), the Fort Wayne TinCaps in the #3 spot (also the ECHL affiliate for the Dayton Demonz the last three years). Sitting at #10, the Grand Rapids, Michigan area (home to the West Michigan Whitecaps), followed by #18 Peoria (Chiefs), #21 Appleton, Wisconsin (Timber Rattlers), #35 Cedar Rapids (Kernels), #41 South Bend, Indiana (Cubs, formerly the Silver Hawks), then Dayton hits the list at #66. After the home of the Dragons, it’s #79 Lansing (Lugnuts), #92 Midland, Michigan (Great Lakes Loons), #104 Beloit, Wisconsin (Snappers), #105 Geneva, Illinois (Kane County Cougars), #122 Bowling Green, Kentucky (Hot Rods), and #144 Eastlake (Lake County Captains).

For the Demolition of the Federal Hockey League, Dayton’s on top with the 66th spot. Behind Dayton is Danville at #75 (Dashers), #124 Watertown, New York (Wolves), #161 Danbury-Bridgeport, Connecticut (Titans), and #194 Port Huron, Michigan (Prowlers.) Berlin, New Hampshire and Brewster, New York are not on the list, but both of these towns are new to the league for 2015-2016.

In other places close to Dayton, Florence, Kentucky made the 118th spot with the Frontier League’s Freedom. Florence is a couple of minutes away south of Cincinnati. Louisville, Kentucky (home of the Triple-A and Reds affiliate Bats and formerly of the Xtreme, a foe of the Dayton Sharks) hit  at #201. Columbus, Ohio (Clippers) did not make the list, but the other teams are either pro (Crew, Blue Jackets) or collegiate.

Dayton has a lot to be proud of in terms of a sports scene. From high school teams, to several collegiate programs, and some great options to watch pro sports, Dayton is a happening sports scene. Add in being less than an hour away from Cincinnati, Southwest Ohio is great for sports.

Until next time,


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