Brewers get 2.3 million at Miller Park in 2016

Brewers get 2.3 million at Miller Park in 2016

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers finished their home slate Sunday by topping 2.3 million in attendance for the 11th consecutive season, a notable achievement, COO Rick Schlesinger noted, for the first full year of a full-scale rebuilding project.

Seven other teams can boast as many fans annually since 2006, and all play in major markets: The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Angels, Giants and Red Sox.

"We knew going into the season that we wanted to be transparent and candid with our fans about what we were going to do on the field this year and what our plan was," Schlesinger said. "There is always some sensitivity about how the fans are going to react, but I was confident that the fans would respond as well as they did this year, attendance-wise.

"This is a baseball town. They are very supportive, very loyal. I think they respect that fact that we were honest with them."

The decision to be upfront about the realities of rebuilding began last September with principal owner Mark Attanasio, who promised as much transparency as possible as general manager David Stearns continued a process of prospect stockpiling that began under predecessor Doug Melvin. After the season, Attanasio took out a full-page ad in the newspaper to write an open letter explaining his vision for the franchise's immediate and long-term future.

As a result of trading away so many of their established players over the past year and a half, the Brewers' 2016 season produced some breakout performances for young players like Zach Davies and Jonathan Villar.

"Miller Park is still a great place to watch a game, tickets are still affordable. All of the elements that make it a great entertainment destination are still there," Schlesinger said. "Couple that with the plan we have been talking about, I felt comfortable we were going to get to these good numbers."

Schlesinger declined to confirm that the Brewers turned a profit this season, saying that "whatever profits may get made, Mark is going to put back into the club, into the ballpark experience, into the Minor Leagues."

In two weeks, the Brewers will announce what Schlesinger called a major capital project at Miller Park "that is far greater than anything we have ever done, and far more expensive than we've ever done."

On Sunday, the Brewers executed their first "Give-Back Game" raising $335,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, The MACC Fund and the Wisconsin Humane Society. All tickets cost $10 each, and fans picked which of the charities received those funds.

The Brewers encouraged fans to make additional donations on top of the ticket price.

"One of the reasons why I bought the team and was so excited about being here was I knew there was a fan base that was committed to the team and passionate about it, and it's really the fabric of the Milwaukee and the Wisconsin summer," Attanasio said. "I also think it's a testament to their knowledge because we're in a rebuild, and that's hard to do. You're saying up front, 'Look, it's going to be a tough season,' and they still come out.

"I've been very gratified by the support."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.