Ever since the Dayton Dragons brought professional baseball to Fifth Third Field in 2000, the Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds has been an incredible success at the box-office. The team has broken every attendance record set at the Class A level, including records the team itself had previously set. Its average attendance in 2012 was, by far, the highest of all Class A clubs but also the third-highest of all minor league clubs. So it should be no surprise that the club will be recognized at next month's Winter Baseball Meetings as the 2012 recipient of the John H. Johnson President's Award.
For years, the club kept a lengthy wait-list just for single game ticket sales as games were sold out well before that season's first pitch was ever thrown. The club has sold out every game in its 13 seasons at the 7,230-seat Fifth Third Field. In fact, on July 9, 2011, the team broke the record for consecutive games sold out amongst all professional teams (major and minor) with 815, and currently sits at 913 at the completion of the 2012 Midwest League season.
First given in 1974, the award is intended to "honor a "complete" baseball franchise that has demonstrated franchise stability and significant contributions to its community, league and the baseball industry". It is the highest honor awarded to the minor league clubs and for Dayton, is another recognition of the front office success the club has experienced. Earlier this year, Forbes Magazine ranked the Dragons as a top-ten club in minor league franchise value. It was recognized by Baseball Digest last year as its Organization of the Year and Sports Business Journal named the club as a 2012 Finalist for Pro Sports Organization of the Year. Additionally, the club's good fortune will continue as the team was awarded the 2013 Midwest League All-Star game, which it previously hosted in 2001.