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Isotopes/Mariachis are finalists for “Copa” Award

Fans populate the berm beyond the right-field fence on Saturday at Isotopes Park, where Albuquerque beat El Paso 4-1 in Pacific Coast League baseball. Playing as “Los Mariachis” as part of a promotion, the Isotopes drew a franchise record crowd announced at 16,975. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

The Albuquerque Isotopes are one of five franchise finalists in Minor League Baseball’s inaugural Copa de la Diversión (Fun Cup) event series that took place during the 2018 season. The winner will be announced on Monday, at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Isotopes already will bring home hardware from Las Vegas. On Sunday night, they receive the 45th annual John H. Johnson President’s Award, which has been presented annually since 1974 to honor the complete baseball franchise.

The Copa de la Diversión (“Copa”) promotion was established to connect minor league franchises with their diverse communities.

The Isotopes were one of 33 franchises to participate. As the Mariachis de Nuevo México, the ‘Topes set a single-game attendance record (16,975) for their first-ever Mariachis home game on May 5. Albuquerque led all Copa-participating teams in most attendees gained per game, averaging 5,000 more fans each Copa game compared to similar dates in 2017.

As for the Isotopes’ competition, here is what other finalists did:

  • The Eugene Emeralds (Monarcas de Eugene) leading all Copa-participating teams in community impact metrics by engaging 16 local civic groups, community organizations and corporate offices, investing significant time and resources to authentically connect with Eugene and surrounding areas’ Hispanic/Latinx communities.
  • •The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino (Cucuys de San Bernardino) achieving their season-long attendance increase goal during their first Cucuys’ game, as 6,887 fans packed San Manuel Stadium on Thursday, May 3, an increase of 272 percent compared to similar game date in 2017.
  • • The Oklahoma City Dodgers (Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City) establishing deep connections with local area businesses searching for programming to reach OKC’s Hispanic/Latinx community, resulting in the second-largest commercial partnership revenue among all Copa-participating teams.
  • • The San Antonio Missions (Flying Chanclas de San Antonio) generating the most team-controlled retail sales for its Flying Chanclas’ licensed products with more than $700,000 in retail sales (in-ballpark and via the team’s online store).

For the 2019 season, some 72 franchises will participate, Minor League Baseball has announced.