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Fort Wayne Sports History: Fort Wayne named No. 1 minor league city

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Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal selects winner in survey

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 1:44 pm

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of excepts from the book ``Fort Wayne Sports History.

August 21, 2007

Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal named Fort Wayne the No. 1 minor-league sports city in America.

One of Fort Wayne's most noticeable traits is that nothing seems to change. For once, that's was major advantage.

Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal named Fort Wayne the No. 1 minor-league sports city in America in its Aug. 21, 2007, issue. Fort Wayne was ranked No. 7 the first time the magazine compiled the listing two years ago, and one of the major reasons for the jump up is because ... well, stability.

"They didn't improve on a whole lot of things, but just stayed consistent," the magazine's research director David Broughton said from his Charlotte, N.C., office. "The main strengths were consistency and tenure. I'd say it was Fort Wayne's stability that really made it go from No. 7 to No. 1."

That's no small feat, considering the constantly changing landscape of minor-league sports, where teams change as often as uniform styles. In fact, 71 cities in the survey lost at least one team. None of Fort Wayne's teams folded, attendance went up a little and no owner tried to hold the city hostage by threatening to move. It also didn't hurt that other cities in the upper Midwest around Fort Wayne are struggling to keep their sports franchises, and the next three cities behind Fort Wayne in the rankings each lost at least one team since the last ranking.

The magazine studied 242 markets covering 572 teams in 48 leagues. Cities were judged on tenure, attendance and economic rank. Tenure, or franchise stability, counted for 66 percent of a market's score. Attendance counted for 20 percent of the score and was based on average, percent capacity and percentage of overall population. The economic factors included fluctuations in unemployment, population and total personal income (TPI) average. Cities received a bonus for new facilities.

Fort Wayne fell to No. 2 in the 2009 rankings and to No.19 in 2011.

For more information on the book "Fort Wayne Sports History'' written by News-Sentinel sports reporter Blake Sebring visit www.amauth.com or www.blakesebring.com.