Sunday, October 22, 2017

Miracle ticket sales flying with Tebow visit

Tim Tebow laughs as he answers questions during a news conference at the New York Mets' complex, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

“naplesThe first week of July is always a busy time for the Fort Myers Miracle, but with the arrival of Saint Lucie Mets and their new player, former University of Florida star Tim Tebow, ticket sales are on the rise.

“The economic impact of Tim Tebow is great,” Miracle General Manager Andrew Seymour said. “It’s generating a lot of fan interest. It’s generating a lot of ticket purchases.”

Miracle General Manager Andrew Seymour said the team’s average attendance for a game this time a year is around 2,000. As of Thursday afternoon, pregame ticket sales had already reached 2,500 for Friday’s game.

Tebow was promoted to St. Lucie, the New York Mets Advanced-A affiliate earlier this week and will play the first of a four game series against the Miracle on Friday. The former University of Florida quarterback is known for his loyal following after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and playing for the Denver Broncos during their AFC West title win in 2011.

But after being traded by the Broncos after the 2011 season, Tebow never found firm footing again in the NFL, and after spending time as an analyst for ESPN, decided to pick up baseball last season. The Mets signed him to play winter league baseball, and then invited him to Spring Training this season before assigning him to Class-A Columbia Fireflies.

The series coincides with what is traditionally the team’s biggest night for ticket sales, the July 3 fireworks celebration. While general admission is still available, box seats for both the series opener Friday and the fireworks celebration have already sold out. Seymour said that the team hopes to use the surge of local interest to entice residents to return to Hammond Stadium, which underwent a $48.5 million renovation last year.

“Hopefully he’ll introduce us to a few new people,” said Seymour. “Hopefully translating into a lot of repeat traffic. We hope they come out here, have a good time, and say ‘Hey why haven’t we done this more?’ That’s what we are looking for.”

Seymour placed a conservative estimate of the number of fans who would attend over the course of the series at 15,000 but said it could go much higher.

In 64 games with the Fireflies, Tebow hit .220 with a .311 on-base percentage. Tebow made his St. Lucie debut on Wednesday, and hit a home run in the second game of a doubleheader against the Palm Beach Cardinals.

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