Fans Continue to Flock to Larks Games & Events in 7th Season
The Larks hosted 36 home games this summer at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, Home of Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field, including hosting the 2023 Northwoods League All Star Game and Home Run Challenge for the first time. 65,457 total tickets were purchased resulting in almost 97% of the ballpark’s 1900 capacity sold each night.
In addition to providing a unique, quality of life experience to the community during games, the team along with their sponsors put on over a dozen free, family events throughout the year. These events included the third annual Flock Fest, STEM Education Expo, Special Olympics Baseball Camp, Jersey Food Drive, and Clark’s Car Wash hosted at the ballpark along with a Bat Demo Day at Sanford POWER, Ski Day at Huff Hills, Kids Bike Ride at Harmon Lake, Community Mine Tour at North American Coal, Away Game Watch Parties at three local bars, Clarks Birthday Party at Elk Ridge Park, Fishing with the Larks at the ND Game & Fish Department building, and the Larks Christmas with Coal Miners toy drive event Dykshoorn Park in Mandan. Total estimated attendance for these events was over 5,000.
Impact on Tourism
The team connected all corners of North Dakota and the country with over 1,100 single game tickets purchased by fans outside of the Bismarck, Mandan, and Lincoln area. This number does not include numerous parents of players that visited from out of town who receive tickets from the Larks player pass list as well as out of town guests that use tickets purchased in advance from businesses or local residents.
Baseball fans from 33 states and three provinces of Canada flocked to Bismarck to watch at least one game. The furthest fans traveled over 3,600 miles from Honolulu, Hawaii and Minnesota was the state that brought the most people to Bismarck throughout the duration of the summer.
The Larks hosting the 2023 Northwoods League Great Plains All-Star festivities brought the entire baseball community together including 11 MLB scouts and fans from Canada and 13 different states including California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Montana, Wisconsin, Arizona, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota and Iowa.
In total, the Larks helped partner hotel Ramada Bismarck and Baymont Inn and Suites reserve over 300 rooms for guests throughout the year, not including player and umpire rooms.
National, Regional Exposure for City & State
Bismarck and North Dakota were highly visible on television and social media this year during Larks games generating millions of impressions through the following:
- Two games at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark were broadcast on ESPNU, a Bismarck Larks game and the 2023 Northwoods League All Star Game, which as of November 2021 reaches over 51 million US households.
- 14 of the 36 Larks home games were featured on the ESPN+, the popular streaming app which as of 2023 has over 25 million subscribers.
- Remaining home and away games are featured on the Northwoods League’s free streaming platform which received tens of thousands of impressions
- KFYR-TV televised 2 games on NBC across the state of North Dakota with over 9,000 households tuning in.
- Bismarck’s moniker (BIS), the Larks logo, along with game scores were featured on the bottom ticker during all Minnesota Twins games on Bally Sports North.
- The Larks “Missouri River Motorboaters” promotion sold merchandise in all 50 states within 4 hours, was featured on Barstool Sports and Sportscenter, and garnered millions of impressions on social media through viral posts.
Workforce Recruitment & Retention
In 2023, the Larks and sister company Funatix Events expanded to a front office of 16 full-time staff members with 14 now calling Bismarck home after moving from outside the state for their position. The Larks also had three employees celebrate their 7th season with the organization and two employees celebrate their 6th season.
In addition, the Larks employed 113 individuals part-time during the season. Over 21% of the seasonal employees were new to the workforce and chose the Larks to be their first job in the summer of 2023.
The team’s internship program offered 18 students the opportunity to receive college credit in their field of study. Interns gained hands-on educational experience in areas including operations, sponsorship, media, and tickets. 88% of interns moved from out-of-state, choosing Bismarck as their home for the duration of their internship. These individuals moved from Texas, Ohio, California, Colorado, Mississippi, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Missouri and Iowa.
The team also had a total of 65 Larks players, over 300 visiting players, 3 coaches, 27 visiting coaches, and 24 umpires come to North Dakota between May and August 2023 exposing them to our beautiful city and state.