Grand Rapids is leading the pack when it comes to minor league sports.
The Grand Rapids-Comstock Park market tops the 2019 "Minor League Markets" ranking in the U.S. by the Sports Business Journal. The ranking was posted online today.
The market is home to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, West Michigan Whitecaps of the Midwest League and Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA G League.
The ranking is based on a review of 211 markets, 34 leagues, 350 teams and 190.7 million in total attendance.
Markets with MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWHL or WNBA franchises were not measured.
The journal releases its minor league market rankings every other year. Des Moines, Iowa was the highest-ranked market in 2017.
“I think it’s a validation of what we’re doing here, the work that’s being done from a franchise level,” said Tim Gortsema, president, Grand Rapids Griffins.
“But it’s a larger validation for the community and the outpouring of support that West Michigan has had for the Griffins, the Whitecaps and the Drive for years.
“Growing up in West Michigan, I’ve seen all my life that this is a tremendously supportive community, from high school athletics to how vested fans are with their teams. It’s gratifying to get recognition on a national scope of what’ve known and appreciated locally for years.”