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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Rates for the 2024 Best Venue Awards increase this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Going Bananas: Barnstorming Baseball Team Proves Too Big For MLB Parks

  • Team draws more than 2 million entries into 2024 ticket lottery.
  • Franchise has quickly ascended to become a cultural phenomenon.
Bryon Houlgrave / USA TODAY NETWORK

Even a move to play in MLB stadiums isn’t nearly enough to satisfy fans’ intense demand for Savannah Bananas tickets.

The independent barnstorming baseball team said it received more than 2 million lottery entries for tickets to its 2024 Banana Ball World Tour. That tour will include six stops at MLB stadiums, including in Houston, Boston, Washington, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Miami. That’s a quantum leap, given its history of playing solely in minor-league and college ballparks.

In several instances, the Bananas received more than 100,000 lottery entrants for tickets to games at stadiums that seat less than half that many people.

Houston, for example, saw 158,255 entries, whereas Minute Maid Park seats 41,000; and Boston received 145,080 entries for a game at the 37,755-seat Fenway Park.

The 2024 Banana World Tour starts Feb. 8 in Tampa and runs until October.

Cultural Phenomenon

Loosely described as baseball’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters, the Bananas became a cultural force in 2023, drawing more than 550,000 fans to games, building a ticket waiting list beyond 1 million names, and boosting its TikTok following past 7.8 million, surpassing even MLB’s official feed.

“Now the real hard work begins,” team owner Jesse Cole said in an Instagram post. “While over 1 million people will not be able to experience a show, we still will have 1 million fans and many first-timers … We have to deliver on that experience.”

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